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Vol. 40, No. 1




Straight and Level

Geoff Robison


It All Started With a Pony

At least you dont have to clean up after a Monocoupe

by Budd Davisson

11 The Liberating Sky

Pioneering black pilots broke barriers and climbed to new heights-Part I
by Philip Handleman


Light Plane Heritage

Twelve thousand miles in an Avro Avian
by Bob Whittier

20 Just a Long Cross-Counry in an Antique, Right?

A ferry flight adventure
by Bill McClure


Type Club Listing


The Vintage Mechanic

Repair data
by Robert G. Lock


The Vintage Instructor

Do you know what you dont know?
Flying is a lifelong learning experience!
by Steve Krog, CFI


Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy




FRONT COVER: Cam Blazer and a few of his friends (along with some new ones he met along
the way) restored this Monocoupe 90A, now powered with a 165 hp Warner. Read about his
restoration odyssey in Budd Davissons article starting on page 5. EAA photo by Jim Koepnick,
EAA photo plane flown by Bruce Moore.
BACK COVER: Popular illustrator Barry Ross created this beautiful illustration of a Piper
Tri-Pacer climbing away from the Bear Island Lighthouse near Acadia National Park in Maine.
Along the shoreline, the Rockefeller yawl Nirvana cruises serenely along. Prints are available by
ordering from his website at Click on the Aviation art link.

EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Director/Editor
Production/Special Projects
Copy Editor

Rod Hightower
J. Mac McClellan
H.G. Frautschy
Kathleen Witman
Jim Koepnick
Colleen Walsh

Publication Advertising:
Manager/Domestic, Sue Anderson
Tel: 920-426-6127
Fax: 920-426-4828
Senior Business Relations Mgr, Trevor Janz
Tel: 920-426-6809
Manager/European-Asian, Willi Tacke
Phone: +49(0)1716980871 Email:
Fax: +49(0)8841 / 496012

Classified Advertising Coordinator, Jo Ann Cody Simons

Tel: 920-426-6169

For missing or replacement magazines, or

any other membership-related questions, please call
EAA Member Services at 800- JOIN-EAA (564-6322).



Geoff Robison

Looking Ahead and Tightening the Belt

appy new year to each and

every member of the Vintage Aircraft Association.
Where did 2011 go?
Well, for me it was yet another whirlwind year of adventure and enjoyment of everything aviation. Its
vitally important for the staff and
volunteers of VAA to look back and
thank the many thousands of individuals who support this organization
every year. Its appropriate to thank
those on the EAA staff who work hard
every day to sell the Vintage brand
to members and potential members.
Many thanks to each of you!
Now, what does 2012 have in store
for us? Well, many positive things are
on our horizon, but we find ourselves
in a financial position where we can
no longer avoid the really tough decision about our dues structure. The
expense of operating an organization
such as ours has experienced many
distinct ebbs and tides over the past
10 years or so since we last raised our
dues. The reality of the slow but ever
increasing rate of inflation has caught
up with us, even though weve done
our best to broaden the income of the
division beyond dues revenue.
We are simply no longer in a position to ignore the realities of the rising
costs of publishing Vintage Airplane
magazine. Ironically, the Vintage
board overwhelmingly supported a
dues increase, but until recently, we
ultimately chose not to implement a
dues increase. Be assured that a lot of
consternation, discussion, and very
careful planning have now led us
to implement what I believe to be a
well-thought-out plan on what the
actual increase should be. The real-

2 JANUARY 2012

ity of all this discussion results in a

dues increase of a mere 50 cents per
month, or $6 per year. We are all certainly hopeful that the entire membership will understand and support
this decision to raise the dues, but
realistically, we understand that there
will be some who will question the
value of staying on board. Please be
assured we will understand regardless
of your decision, and please do not
hesitate to communicate any concerns you may have about this or any
other board actions.
Another item that was discussed in
the fall board meetings was the need
to respond to a number of recent departures from our board of directors.
Through attrition that has naturally
occurred over the last couple of years,
I felt that the board should begin
the process of keeping the board of
directors staffed with some new energy through the Advisory Member
(Advisors) process as allowed by our
bylaws. Three active VAA volunteers
were carefully selected and agreed to
serve as advisors to the board. Please
join me and the board of directors in
welcoming Ron Alexander, Joe Norris,
and Tim Popp to the board of directors. Youll get a chance to meet these
three men here in the pages of Vintage
Airplane in a future issue.
A year ago I stated in this column,
I often wonder what government
regulatory issues we will be dealing
with in a year from now. Yet again
we find ourselves concerned with the
funding mechanisms of our countrys aviation system. The hot button
concept of user fees will just not go
away. The fiscal 2012 federal budget
for the FAA has been reauthorized for

just four months of this current budget cycle, which extended the period
for debate and negotiation on the remainder of that fiscal periods budget.
Of course, there are those who continue to push for additional revenues
through the implementation of user
fees. True to my word, I have personally written a number of my congressional representatives in an attempt
to convince them to push for adoption of sensible funding of the airport
and aviation trust fund. The current
status of this debate resides in H.R.
658, which addresses the remaining
period of fiscal 2012, which I am led
to believe still does not include funding through user fees. The House and
Senate versions of this legislation are
currently being resolved in Conference Committee. So lets all be sure
to keep our eyes wide open on this
issue and stay in the debate. Lets all
protect our personal right to fly.
The year 2011 has proven to be a
banner year for our local VAA Chapter 37 as well as the local EAA Chapter
2 here in northeast Indiana. I am personally bursting with pride in both of
these fine examples of what an EAA
chapter is really all about. These two
chapters provided more than 1,000
Young Eagles rides to the youth of
our local communities during 2011.
What an accomplishment! Congratulations to all the local EAA members
who made this possible.
Remember, its time to run your
checklist and buckle your seat belts,
because 2012 is shaping up to be yet
another exciting year for the Vintage
Aircraft Association.

Cubs to Oshkosh
If youre one of the many Piper
Cub pilots who are in the planning
stages to make the trip to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh to celebrate the
75th anniversary of the Piper J-3
Cub, one of your rst stops should
be to the website www.Cubs2Osh. Volunteer Rick
Rademacher of Urbana, Ohio, is
helping his fellow EAA and VAAers
plan their trip to Oshkosh by overseeing this special event website, including creating a list of members who wish
to bring their Cubs to Oshkosh. Thats where you come invisit the chapter and sign up as a pilot planning on
ying to AirVenture, so we can plan for a sea of yellow Cubs.
While the bulk of the parking for the J-3s will be in the Type Club parking area, the exact parking arrangements
where various Cubs will be located is still being worked out, and much of that planning depends on the number
of pilots who register to park their airplanes in the Vintage area. Well have more on this great anniversary celebration for one of aviations great treasures in coming issues, but in the meantime, please visit www.Cubs2Osh. to get started!

EAA and Learning for Life Sign Aviation Agreement

EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower and Dr. Diane Thornton, national director for Learning for Life, sign a
memorandum of understanding to create joint aviation opportunities for youth.

EAAs Young Eagles program, the worlds largest youth

aviation education initiative, and the school- and careerbased Learning for Life (LFL) program, an affiliate of Boy
Scouts of America, have entered into an agreement that
will help young people discover and explore opportunities
in aviation, including orientation flights in GA aircraft.
Those opportunities will be primarily focused through
Learning for Lifes Aviation Exploring program, a handson program that exposes young people to flying and offers aviation experiences as a possible career or for the
sheer pleasure of being around airplanes.
Learning for Life school-based programs serve boys
and girls from early childhood through 12th grade. Exploring is a worksite-based program for students ages 14
to 21 able to learn about careers through practical application guided by experts in the field.
The agreement will provide students with the opportunity to:
Highlight all aspects of the aviation industry,
Explore career orientation opportunities, and
Enjoy aviation education experiences.
For more information on the agreement and Learning for Life, visit


See Flabob Express at AirVenture 2012

Classic J-3 Cub Is 2012

EAA Aircraft Sweepstakes Grand Prize

Flabob Express, a DC-3 based at Flabob Airport in

Riverside, California, is among the first confirmed aircraft scheduled to appear at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
2012, July 23-29. The aircraft will serve as the centerpiece for a very comprehensive event at AirVenture
by the Flabob-based Thomas W. Wathen Foundations
educational programs, said Bill Sawin, the foundations
executive vice president and chief development officer.
Up to 15 students from the Wathen Foundation
Charter Middle/High School Aviation Academy & Programs will attend and serve as docents for aircraft tours
and make presentations about EAA youth programs.
They will also get involved with KidVenture and interact with the EAA Air Academy campers during AirVenture week. In addition, organizers plan to bring two or
three airplanes built and flown by the students.
For links to more information on EAA AirVenture,
the plane, Flabob, and the Wathen Foundation, visit

What Our Members Are


Are you nearing completion of a restoration? Or is it

done and youre busy flying and showing it off? If so,
wed like to hear from you. Send us a 4-by-6-inch print
from a commercial source (no home printers, please
those prints just dont scan well) or a 4-by-6-inch, 300dpi digital photo. A JPG from your 2.5-megapixel (or
higher) digital camera is fine. You can burn photos to a
CD, or if youre on a high-speed Internet connection, you
can e-mail them along with a text-only or Word document
describing your airplane. (If your e-mail program asks
if youd like to make the photos smaller, say no.) For
more tips on creating photos we can publish, visit VAAs
website at Check the News
page for a hyperlink to Want To Send Us A Photograph?

For more information, you can also e-mail us at or call us at 920-426-4825.
4 JANUARY 2012


See the DC-3 Flabob Express at AirVenture Oshkosh


Giveaway part of Cubs 75th

anniversary celebration at EAA AirVenture
The Piper J-3 Cub, one of the legendary aircraft in
aviation history, will take center stage for the next
nine months as the grand prize for the 2012 EAA Win
the Cub Aircraft Sweepstakes.
The EAA Sweepstakes, one of the longest-running
airplane giveaways in the world, annually supports
EAAs aviation education programs. In a change from
past years, entry forms will be available beginning
this week through EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012, taking
place July 23-29. All prizes will be awarded to winners
in random drawings at the EAA AirVenture Museum in
Oshkosh at 5 p.m. on September 10, 2012.
The Piper Cub grand prize in 2012 coincides with
AirVentures commemoration of the Cubs 75th anniversary. The Sweepstakes Cub is a specially selected
model that is restored and maintained to EAAs high
standards, which will make an unmatched piece of
ying history and fun for the winner. In addition, the
grand prize package includes skis for winter flying,
plus sport pilot and/or tailwheel endorsement training, if desired.
This is your opportunity to win one of the great,
iconic airplanes in aviation history that is perfect for
fun ying, said Elissa Lines, EAAs vice president of
business and donor relations. At the same time,
youll be joining the rest of the aviation community
in supporting EAAs activities and programs that are
helping to create the next generation of aviators.
Entry forms are available on the sweepstakes website at Complete
sweepstakes rules are also available at that website.

It All Started
With a Pony
At least you dont have to clean up
after a Monocoupe


Dad said . . .
Why would you
want that when you
could be flying
a Tri-Pacer?.




orses are, to many people, as habit forming as

airplanes. A disease of
the mind. Some breeds
are more addictive than others.
Airplanes are very much the same,
and if theres one fact in aviation,
it is that once the Monocoupe bug
bites, you stay bitten.
Technically, says Cam Blazer
of Leawood, Kansas, our Monocoupe actually started with a cigarette, when I was about 10 years
old. Not a pony. But, theres a definite connection. My dad caught
me smoking, and he whipped me
good. Mom saw what was going on
and asked Dad to reason with me,
rather than whip. After a day or so,
Dad said, If you dont smoke until
you are 21, Ill give you a pony.
Skip ahead 11 years. In 1957
I was 21 and didnt smoke. Dads
construction workers and family
knew about the no-smoking deal
and would kid about the pony. One
day Dad called me at college and
asked if I would swap the pony for
flying lessons because he had decided he wanted to learn to fly. A
deal was struck, and we learned together in an old Aeronca Chief. So

6 JANUARY 2012


Since hes from the Kansas City area, we shouldnt be surprised to see
Cam Blazer wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with the Nicholas-Beazley
emblem. Cam credits his wife, Marie, with helping him throughout his
aviation avocation, and particularly with his latest effort, the Monocoupe
Sweet Marie.
that $50 pony turned into about
$500 worth of flying time.
As I was working on my private
ticket, I came across a 90A Monocoupe that was for sale for $900. I
tried to get Dad interested, but he
took one look and said, It has ringworm and is leaking oil. Plus its old.

Why would you want that when

you could be flying a Tri-Pacer?
From that point on Cams story
reads very much the way so many
pilots biographies do with marriage, family, and career slowing
down his flying. But, it didnt keep
him out of aviation.

Doesnt everyone have tail surface

parts as part of the dcor?

When I got married I wasnt

doing much flying, but Id discovered homebuilt airplanes, and that
looked like something I might be
able to afford. I got interested in a
Sport-Aire II, an Al Trefethen design, and discovered a TWA pilot
who lived in my ZIP code was listed
as building one. So, I tracked him
down and knocked on his door. I
spent a lot of time working on his
airplane with him, and that led me
to Kansas City EAA Chapter 91. I
got heavily involved and was even
president for a while.
I was in partnership to build a
couple of Pazmany PL-2s, but I had
to sell mine as a project, including an
Al Trefethen Lycoming O-290G. The
engine was $135. Hard to believe!
By this time, the fits and starts of
his aviation career were starting to
form a pattern. One he didnt like.
I had started a Midget Mustang II when my third child came
along, and I had to sell the project to expand the house, he says.
This was getting really old, but
this time, it didnt work entirely
against me because my wife got a
fourth bedroom and the space below it just happened to contain an
airplane workshop.
The next chapter is from one of
those If he didnt have bad luck, hed
have no luck at all types of tales.

hospital, I stopped and attended

that months EAA meeting. I didnt
see any reason to wait another entire month.
Like we said: persistent.
Im glad I went because at the
meeting in the wants and wishes
part, Kelly Viets said his Stinson
108-2 was for sale.
It was at this point that I realized I came really close to not living long enough to build or own
my own airplane, so I bought a Stinson 108-2 that had been restored to


The one-piece wing was completely rebuilt by Cam and friends from his church
group. He was thankful Ed Sampson was keeping an eye on their progress.

While a complete fuselage, there was plenty to repair on the steel tube
fuselage, which was expertly accomplished by D.J. Short at Short Air in
Warrensburg, Missouri.
I was pretty broke, what with
the family and all, but my career as
a project manager was just starting
to take off, so I felt I could afford
to build a KR-2 with a Revmaster.
I was doing just fine on that one
until I was electrocuted on the job.
My hands and toes took a real beating, and the doctor said if it hadnt
been such a dry day, it would have
been the end of my story.
Cam Blazer is nothing if not persistent.
On the way home from the


award-winning condition by Kelly

Viets. Its easy to remember the day
I bought the airplane, because it was
2 degrees below zero in the hangar
when I was inspecting it. That was
1985, and Ive owned it since.
In 1996 my son Steve flew his
1940 Taylorcraft to Oshkosh, and
I flew the Stinson. He was parked
with the Antiques, and I was parked
in the Vintage area. The Taylorcraft was sitting next to the Monocoupes, and Steve said we should
get a Monocoupe. I had never forgotten that 90A I could have had
for $900, so I was more than ready
for a coupe.
I found a D145 for sale but
couldnt afford it. Later Steve found
a basket case 90A Monocoupe, and
we bought it on December 26, 1997.
If my dad had thought I was
nuts for wanting that 90A 40 years
earlier, this one would have given
him a heart attack. It was a project.
And not a particularly good project,
as projects go.
The fuselage had been stripped
and primed, and the tail was in
reasonable condition, but the
wing, which is a huge one-piece
affair, was in terrible condition.
In 1956, the airplane had been
ground looped somewhere down
around Chicago. The left wingtip
got torn up a little, so the airplane
was parked out in the weather and
mostly forgotten. A wooden wing
like that one doesnt like being out
in the weather, and it didnt take
long before it was mostly trash.
The airplane changed hands a
couple of times, each new owner
looking for a 90-hp Lambert radial that originally powered it,
but with no luck. So, not much
was accomplished in terms of rebuilding it other than logging a
lot of road miles on trailers. The
owner I bought it from in Kansas
decided to re-engine it with a 165
Warner, which is significantly bigger and heavier than the Lambert.
The biggest engine certified in the
Monocoupe in the factory was the
145-hp Warner, so the 165 was illegal. However, when I bought the

8 JANUARY 2012

remains, the owner said hed gotten all the proper paperwork and
it was a kosher conversion. Id find
out later that wasnt the case, and
it would give me lots of headaches.

The left wingtip

got torn up a little,
so the airplane
was parked out in
the weather and
mostly forgotten.
When I got it home, I had
neither the time nor the money
to jump into it with both feet, so
I decided to just do the engine. I
had Forrest Lovley in Minneapolis
overhaul the engine. My contribution to that part of the project was
to clean parts, which pretty much
matched my experience level when
it came to rebuilding round motors.
Frankly, I was a little worried
about the wings. Being one-piece
tip-to-tip units, they are not only
heavy, but represent a huge amount
of work. I went to visit Ed Samson
in his shop to have him build a new
wing for me. Ed was thinking of retiring and said he would loan me
the patterns and help with questions, if I built the wing myself. He
said I would get a great feeling of
accomplishment if I did it myself.
In another part of his life Cam
had built a number of small, outboard racing hydroplanes, so he
knew his way around a wood shop.
The wing, however, was four times
the work of a small boat.
At the beginning, I barely
dipped my toe on the water, preferring to go in little mouse-sized
chunks rather than whole hog, so
I rebuilt an aileron. I picked on an
aileron first because it was small
enough that I could see what I was
in for without spending too much
money. I did okay, so I got serious
about the wings in 2004. Every
Thursday night some of my church
buddies, Walt Calkins, Dan Marvin
and Victor Cook, would come over

and build a rib. Ed Samson was our

We saved every fitting possible,
rebuilt them, and reused them. In
fact, thats the way I approached
the entire airplane. I wanted to
make it as original to 1936 as possible. The bigger engine put the
airplane into the custom air show/
exhibition category, but otherwise
its a 1936 airplane. To develop a
supply of original parts, I bought
a donor airplane that had ground
looped so hard that the wing was
broken clean through, and then
it sat outdoors until the fuselage
was good only for patterns. It did,
however, have an excellent instrument panel and most of the original aluminum fairings, so between
the two airplanes, we could put
together a full set of fairings. Most
of those were beat up and required
a lot of handwork to make look
good again, but at least they were
original. All of the instruments are
1936, and even the radio that you
see is a 1936 Lear.
Per capita, Monocoupes have
probably suffered more ground
loops than any other type of airplane (a guess), many of which
involved a landing gear collapsing
from hidden rust inside the tubing.
The gear tubing is heat treated
to 180,000 psi, which is twice that
of normal chromoly, so when we
rebuilt the gear we had to have it
heat treated. But almost no one
wanted to touch it, and those that
did warped it, and when it was
warped it couldnt be straightened.
So, we annealed it, built a huge
jig, TIG welded it and, when it was
heat treated in the jig, it came out
straight. That was a much bigger
project than it sounds like.
Earlier I had given the fuselage
to D.J. Short at Short Air in Warrensburg, Missouri. Hes a magician
with steel tube fuselages, and thats
what this one was going to need, a
magician. The basic tubing wasnt
too bad, but it is a very complicated
little airplane, especially the control system. It has tons of rods and
cast aluminum dog-bone fittings


that join one pushrod to another or to a bell crank. In

truth, it involves a lot of monkey motion to activate
the ailerons, and D.J. had to figure all the stuff out and
build new parts where we didnt have the right ones.
And we didnt do the Frize aileron STC to the airplane
because theyve been known to flutter, and I didnt
want to have to worry about that. When we covered
the airplane, we covered straight across the aileron
gap to make them more effective. Unfortunately, that
means that to take the ailerons off, you have to use a
razor blade.
The big engine is set so far back that some parts actually stick through the firewall, which was originally
aluminum, but D.J. replaced it with a more fire-safe
stainless steel one. To show how far back the engine
sits, with no firewall in it, you can sit in the seat and
touch the carburetor with your feet.
D.J. also had to fabricate a new cowling. My son
Chris was working for D.J., and D.J. showed him the
system and let him create the bumps himself. He hammered the rocker arm bumps in place rather than
making them separate pieces and riveting or welding
them on. He made a female mold that clamped on,
and hed gently hammer the aluminum down into it.
When the aluminum started to change sound, indicating that it was work hardening, hed anneal it and
keep going. It takes a real touch to do that kind of
thing and not cause cracks.
D.J.s ability with aluminum really came in handy



with the wheelpants. These are

original Monocoupe pants and
had some serious issues, Cam
says, but, when D.J. was finished
with them, it took very little filler
to get them ready for paint. In fact,
they were so nice that I hated to
paint them.
Although originality was a key
goal of the project, it was also going to be flown a fair amount, and
thats where safety and mechanical reliability had to become part of
the equation.
The original brakes were close to
being useless, he says. They were
mechanical and self-energizing, so
we used a set of 6.50 by 10 Cessna
310 wheels and brakes and sized
the actuation cylinders so that they
were soft and would barely hold
the airplane during a run-up. Yes,
you want reliable brakes, but on
this airplane, you dont want too
much brake.
The tail wheel is especially intriguing, as it is a tiny little thing with a
handle protruding off the back that
allows the rudder to steer the tail
wheel directly. It is done exactly the
way the factory drawings show it.
The fuselage formers, he says,
were essentially a moldy jigsaw
puzzle: Lots of individual pieces,
all of them ratty and dimensioned
for the donor airplane, so they
didnt necessarily match my airplane. A lot of head scratching was
involved in getting them, and the
big wooden cove moldings that
run down all four corners of the aft
fuselage to the tail, shaped to fit.
There was some serious eyeballing
while doing that.
The seat frames were another
problem in that we didnt have two
good ones between two airplanes. So,
we used them as patterns. The bottom
of the door was also mostly rusted
away, and he had to rebuild that.
One of the bigger problems in
restorations like this is finding all
the small pieces for the interior.
In this case we didnt have all the
window moldings, some of which
are pretty complicated because they
were originally stamped out. We

10 JANUARY 2012

made two complete sets of moldings

for the little D windows before we
got the two we needed. The others
were a little easier, so we didnt have
to build so many duplicates.
Cam reports that they covered
the airplane using the Superflite
system all the way through, with
D.J. doing the covering.
He says, It took three solid
weeks, at eight hours a day, to finish sanding it. My contribution to
that part of it was in the role of
head sander. I really got my arms in
shape on the project.
Every project, no matter how
complicated or fraught with problems, eventually gets finished, and
this included Cams Monocoupe.
D.J. did the first flight, and although I had a fair amount of tailwheel time, I thought I needed to
do a little brushing up. Especially
considering the reputation the
Monocoupes ground handling has.
So, I flew Dick Michels Luscombe
for a while, with cardboard covering the windshield to simulate the
limited visibility that a pilot has in
a Monocoupe. Then I went down
to St. Louis, where Mel McCullom
let me fly his 90AL coupe.
When I started flying my airplane, the visibility, or more correctly, the lack of visibility, was the
biggest surprise. On the ground there
is nothing but instrument panel
and motor in front of you, and you
have to look to the sides at a much
larger angle than in most taildraggers. Theres just a tiny triangle of
windshield visible at each end of the
instrument panel. On most runways,
as you flare, you actually find yourself looking out the side window behind the front door posts.
Id be lying if I didnt admit
that Im disappointed in the ailerons. They are too heavy with too
much system friction, and Im not
convinced the Frize ailerons would
be any better. Still its an enormous
amount of fun to fly, and its especially fun to land somewhere and
taxi up to the gas pump. It draws
spectators like flies.
I bring it over the fence at about

75 mph, so it doesnt land particularly fast, and I usually wheel it on,

although it does three-point just
fine. It cruises at about 120-125 mph
at about 10-1/2 gallons per hour,
and I have two 14-gallon tanks and
a 9-gallon aux tank. It actually has
enough range and speed that its a
workable cross-country airplane.
By the time Cam Blazer had gotten well into the Monocoupe project, he had risen far up the ranks
of his profession, as an engineering
project manager, and decided to retire to have more time to work on
the airplane.
Retiring sounded good in theory, he says, but it drove my wife
crazy. And me, too. So I unretired
to save our sanity and probably our
marriage. Besides, I needed the extra money for the airplane. Its really ironic to think that Ive spent
my life and built my reputation on
doing huge projects, like the $250
million Sprint arena in Kansas City,
and bringing it in on budget and
on time. The Monocoupe project
ran as if Id never been involved in
a project of any kind. It took nearly
twice as much time as estimated
and went horribly over budget. It
went so far over budget that I have
purposely never added it all up,
so when my wife asks how much
it cost, I can honestly say I dont
know. But, I had a huge amount of
fun. And, I think Ive got a pretty
neat airplane, which makes it all
worth it.
We think both of his points
are important, and we agree with
them both: What can be more fun
and more important than enjoying
yourself while youre saving history?
A note from Cam to friends and
family: Thanks to everyone who
helped with parts, advice, and encouragement over the 12 years of rebuilding. Thanks to John Swander for setting the example with his 1932 Waco
UEC 2000 Oshkosh Grand Champion, which is my hangar mate. And,
most important, thanks to my wife,
Marie. Shes the reason the Monocoupe
is known as Sweet Marie.

The Liberating Sky

Pioneering black pilots broke barriers and
climbed to new heights


Aiming for the Heavens: AfricanAmericans Blaze a Trail in the Sky

Long before the invention of the
airplane, idealized notions of the
sky suffused Western civilization.
By hurtling from earthly routine
into the unencumbered dome of air
that encircles our world, poets and
dreamers imagined that humanity
might rise above itself and achieve
ennobling heights. This classical
interpretation holds that human
flight at its finest is a liberating
force that elevates the soul.
An African-American who not
only embraced flight as a means to
taste the fruits of freedom but also
helped to lay the intellectual foundation for the idea within the black
community was William J. Powell.
Born in Kentucky in 1899, Powell
was raised by a widowed mother
who moved the family to Chicago
in 1904. A very bright student in
school, Powell enrolled in the University of Illinois at Champaign.
When America entered World
War I, Powell enlisted in the Army.
He served as a lieutenant in a segregated infantry regiment on the
frontlines in France. Victimized by
a poison gas attack, he needed a
long convalescence.
After the war, he became a successful owner of gas stations in Chicago. In August 1927, his life took
a dramatic turn when he went to
France to attend an American Legion convention. It was only three
months after Charles Lindberghs
famous Atlantic crossing in the
Spirit of St. Louis. Like countless
people the world over, Powell was

William J. Powells 1934 book, titled Black Wings, was a manifesto that
called for African-American involvement in aviation. Here he is pictured
at his Los Angeles workshop, far right, hosting famed heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, second from left.
captivated by the historic flight.
Powell ventured to Le Bourget,
the airport where the Lone Eagle
had landed. While there, Powell
paid for an airplane ride and instantly became hooked. Shortly
after returning, he sold his chain
of gas stations and moved to Los
Angeles with the single-minded
purpose of becoming a pilot and
pursuing a career in the burgeoning
field of aeronautics.
In 1934, Powell published a book
titled Black Wings, which was a
thinly veiled autobiographical account of his introduction to flight.
More importantly, it was a manifesto that called for blacks to enter aviation as a career choice. The
book makes clear that Powell saw

flight as possessing the intrinsic

power to liberate those who engage
in it. His outlook was encapsulated
in his statement that Negroes will
never ride as free men and women
below the Mason and Dixon Line
until they ride in airplanes owned
and operated by Negroes.
Powell incessantly extolled the benefits available to African-Americans
through their participation in the
emergent aviation industry. He felt
that the sooner blacks joined in,
the more prominent would be their
role. Unlike in such mature segments of commerce as steel and oil,
he argued that there was still room
for newcomers in aviation.
Powells advocacy included the
staging of elaborate air shows fea-


turing African-American pilots and

stunt performers. He even organized an air demonstration team
with female black pilots, called the
Five Blackbirds. One of the women
had been a singer at New Yorks storied Cotton Club.
Despite Powells undying optimism, the Depression was in full
swing and nothing he did, which
included the publication of a newsletter and the offering of classes,
attracted the financial support his
cause needed to actualize its ambition. In the late 1930s, heavyweight
boxing champion Joe Louis visited
Powells modest aviation workshop,
but even the tacit endorsement of
such a celebrity made little difference. By 1942, Powell was in failing
health due to his wartime affliction. He died that year at the age of
only 43. Like Moses, he did not get
to the Promised Land, but he got
to glimpse his adherents first steps
into it because barely a year before his death the War Department
opened flight training to blacks.
It is worth noting that Powell
had deep roots in the church, both
as a parishioner and proselytizer. In
surveying the early involvement of
African-Americans in aviation, it
is hard to overstate the role of the
church. It is not that black pastors
believed in flight as a panacea or
even as a safe and wise endeavor.
However, in the liturgy and choir
music there were the familiar biblical allusions to the angelic abode as
a sanctuary of purity, peace, happiness, and freedom. Also, a fervent
mantra expressed in resonant sermons proclaimed that ones dreams
were within reach. This positive reinforcement gave encouragement
to Powell and youngsters in the
pews who yearned to fly.

First Flights and Baptism of Fire:

Early Birds and the Black Swallow
of Death
Two decades before William Powell launched his movement to draw
African-Americans into the sphere
of flight, small numbers of people
from the black community found a

12 JANUARY 2012

way to seize the piloting experience.

What these pathfinders lacked in
formal philosophical underpinnings
they more than compensated for in
raw enthusiasm for the new and exciting discipline of aeronautics.
Perhaps it was precisely because
aviation was so fresh and devoid of
regulatory constraint that the first
African-American fliers didnt feel
hamstrung by the biases so readily apparent elsewhere. It was also
possible that some of them may
have known that the very inventors of the airplane, Wilbur and Orville Wright, had befriended fellow
Daytonian Paul Lawrence Dunbar,
a leading black poet of the time.
It is not clear who was the first
African-American to have piloted
an aircraft. By some accounts it was
Charles Wesley Peters of Pittsburgh.
He reportedly flew gliders of his own
design starting in 1906 and then
five years later installed an engine in
one to achieve powered flight.
New information has emerged
about the flying activity of Emory
Conrad Malick. He is said to have
built and flown gliders along a
stretch of the Susquehanna River in
Pennsylvania in the same time frame
as Peters. Later on, Malick received
flight instruction at the Curtiss Aviation School in San Diego and earned
his pilot certificate in March 1912,
possibly giving him the distinction
of being the first African-American to
obtain a pilot certificate.
Malick went to work for a couple of Philadelphia-based flying
services, one of which specialized
in aerial photography. In 1928, he
stopped flying in the aftermath of
two serious accidents. Although he
kept an eye on aeronautical developments, he pointedly refused to
fly for the rest of his life. He died in
1958 with his flying experiences as
a young man obscured and almost
lost to history.
Unquestionably, the leading
figure of early black flight was a
dashing young man who seemed
to have come straight from central casting. Eugene Jacques Bullard
was born in 1894, the grandson of

In his youth, Eugene Jacques

B u l l a rd e s ca p e d h i s te r ri f ying surroundings in Columbus,
Georgia. During World War I, he
fought with the 170th Regiment
of the French Foreign Legion.
Later, he transferred to the Lafayette Flying Corps and piloted
the SPAD in air combat.
slaves. He was raised in Columbus,
Georgia, where life was harsh and
racism overt.
While still in his youth, he literally ran from his surroundings. He
stowed himself aboard a ship to
Europe, where he made his livelihood as a successful boxer. Just as he
landed in Paris, World War I loomed.
Seeing his newfound friends enlist,
he was impelled to join the French
Foreign Legion. Soon, he was at the
front where, for the next few years,
he was periodically ensnarled in
horrific battles that sometimes involved hand-to-hand combat.
After sustaining a severe thigh
wound at Verdun, he transferred
to the French air service. He had a
knack for flying and was accepted
into the ranks of the fabled Lafayette Flying Corps. Composed of
rugged American volunteers who
were conscious of the Marquis de
Lafayettes contributions in the
American Revolutionary War, the
Corps sought to return the favor
more than a century later. Bullard
flew the arrow-like SPAD, sometimes with his escadrilles mascot, a
pet monkey named Jimmy.

Bullard previously served with the

170th Regiment, a crack French infantry unit nicknamed the Swallows
of Death. During his short but eventful stint as a pursuit pilot, he adopted
a version of his former regiments
nickname as his sobriquet. He called
himself the Black Swallow of Death.
When America entered the war,
all American pilots flying for France
were to transition to U.S. squadrons,
but Bullard was alone in not being
permitted to make the switch. Moreover, some prejudiced French army
officers goaded him. One refused to
return his salute, the ultimate indignity for a member of the uniformed
services. Bullards outburst in response was deemed insubordination.
Despite his distinguished record in
the infantry and the air service, Bullards flying days were ended.
He had flown combat for twoand-a-half months. During that
time, he claimed two enemy pursuit ships. He was the first African-American to experience air
warfare from the cockpit. Sadly, as
he fought for liberty aloft, he was
denied it on the ground. His experience foreshadowed that of similarly
motivated African-Americans of
the next generation, for they also
were destined to confront the contemporaneous challenges of hostile
skies and pervasive prejudice.
Through the interwar years, Bullard remained in Paris, where he felt
more at ease. He opened a swanky
nightclub and hobnobbed with expatriate artists and performers like
Ernest Hemingway and Josephine
Baker. When France was invaded,
Bullard assisted the underground.
He even tried to rejoin his old
regiment. However, he was in his
mid-40s and suffered from wounds
sustained in the prior war.
Much as his impulses gravitated
toward staying, Paris for him wasnt a
viable option at the time. He returned
to his native country, virtually penniless. He found America little changed
from his frightful childhood in Georgia. Living in a dilapidated tenement
in Harlem, Bullard scratched out a
living doing odd jobs. His last was in

Bessie Coleman was the rst female African-American to obtain a pilot

certicate. It was issued by the Fdration Aronautique Internationale on June 15, 1921. Because no airports in Chicago would provide
ight training to a black woman at the time, she had sailed to France
for instruction.

What these
pathfinders lacked
in formal
they more than
compensated for
in raw enthusiasm
for the new and
exciting discipline
of aeronautics.

the late 1950s as an elevator operator

in Rockefeller Center.
The NBC television network was
headquartered in that complex of
skyscrapers, and its news division got
wind of Bullards amazing lifes story.
In addition to being the focus of a
straight news report, the one-time
pursuit pilot was featured on the
networks Tonight Show with Dave
Garroway. Bullards many French
military decorations were showcased. Included was the Legion of
Honor, Frances highest decoration.
A further honor came in 1960.
The imposing president of France,
Charles DeGaulle, stopped at an
event in New York at which Bullard was in attendance. DeGaulle
walked across the room to thank
Bullard for his wartime service in
France and then physically embraced the old warrior/pilot.
In 1961, Bullard attired himself in the uniform of the French
Foreign Legion and laid a wreath
at the base of the statue of Lafayette in New Yorks Union Square. A
few months later, the Black Swallow died of natural causes. For his
burial, he had asked that he be
clothed in his legionnaires uniform and that his coffin be draped


in the tricolor flag of France. He

said that America was his mother
and he loved her, while France was
his mistress and he loved her, too.

Undaunted Dreamer, Determined

Barnstormer: Queen Bess
Bessie Coleman was born in rural Texas in 1892. Both her parents
were illiterate. Yet, they recognized
the value of education and sent their
daughter off to the local schoolhouse
when she turned 6 years of age. It was
a 4-mile hike to the squat one-room
building every weekday morning.
Amid the myriad pressures of
the day, which included the real
threat of lynching, Colemans father abandoned the family. Colemans mother became a domestic
servant, and Bessie herself labored
in the cotton fields. In her spare
time, Bessie read about successful
blacks, notably of the exploits of
Harriet Tubman in connection with
the Underground Railroad.
The dramatic stories of escape
from bondage to freedom gave the
young girl reason to believe that
there could be a better life. She
ached to break away from her stultifying existence. In 1915, she finally left to join an older brother
who had moved to Chicago.
Coleman became a hairstylist and
manicurist at beauty parlors and barbershops in Chicagos predominantly
black south-side neighborhoods. As a
poor black from the Deep South who
had arrived in Chicagos so-called
Black Belt, she was part of a surge of
migrating blacks from rural locations
to the northern metropolises. Her
longing for a sense of fulfillment was
not cured. The impetus to reach for
something out of the mundane came
in an unlikely way.
Upon his return from service in
a segregated U.S. infantry unit during World War I, Colemans brother
praised the French women fliers who
he had heard about while deployed
overseas. In the same breath, he derided black women as not capable of
such feats. It was at that moment, in
defiance of such brazen stereotyping,
that she determined to be the worlds

14 JANUARY 2012

first black female pilot.

The problem was that no flying
school in greater Chicago would
give instruction to an African-American woman. Undeterred, Coleman
opted to go to France to acquire her
flight training. She had the encouragement of Robert Abbott, founder
and editor of the influential Chicago
Defender, one of the countrys foremost African-American newspapers.
Coleman took French classes, applied for a passport, and located a
top-notch flight school in France.
In late 1920, Coleman sailed
abroad. Upon reaching France, she
wasted no time starting her flight
training. Her instruction proceeded
in a Nieuport Type 82. Seven months
after arriving, on June 15, 1921, she
was issued her license by the Fdration Aronautique Internationale.
Once back home, Coleman realized that merely flying an airplane
wasnt enough to earn a living as
an exhibition pilot. She underwent
advanced instruction in aerobatic
flight on a second trip to France.
Thusly prepared, she embarked
on an adventurous and inspiring
new life performing flying displays

across the United States.

Finances were an unending challenge. Living hand-to-mouth like
many barnstormers of the golden
age of flight, she managed to scrape
together enough funds to purchase
a war surplus Curtiss JN-4 Jenny. For
the next five years, Coleman zigzagged the country, executing stunts
at aerial meets. During her showrelated travels, she tried to book herself as a speaker at local black theaters
where she could spread her thoughts
about flight and about achieving
ones dreams. She also made a point
of appearing before groups of youngsters at black schools and churches to
relate her message of hope.
The African-American media
hailed Coleman as a role model
for blacks. Her hometown paper,
the Chicago Defender, dubbed her
Queen Bess. However, though she
enjoyed the freedom of the skies
and the fame accompanying her
pioneer status, she was never far
from reminders of Americas ugly
underside. As an example, on Labor Day 1923, Coleman was scheduled to give a flying exhibition at a
racetrack in Columbus, Ohio, when

The author is grateful for the assistance of the Tuskegee Airmen National
Historical Museum in Detroit, Michigan.

Sources and Further Reading

Carisella, P.J. and Ryan, James W. The Black Swallow of Death: The Incredible Story of Eugene Jacques Bullard, the Worlds First Black Combat
Aviator. Boston: Marlborough House, 1972.
Hardesty, Von and Pisano, Dominick. Black Wings: The American Black in
Aviation. Washington, D.C.: National Air and Space Museum/Smithsonian
Institution, 1983.
Hardesty, Von. Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in
Aviation and Space History. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution/
Harper Collins Publishers, 2008.
Powell, William J. Black Aviator: The Story of William J. Powell (Reissue of
Black Wings. 1934.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.
Rich, Doris L. Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.
[The story of African-American aviation in the pre-World War II period
continues next month. The achievements of the rst black pilots laid the
foundation for a series of consequential ights in the 1930s by members of
the next generation of black iers. These ights, in turn, inspired the nation to begin a journey of its own toward an embrace of greater tolerance.
The second and concluding installment will examine the unagging determination of those daring black aviators who overcame fearful obstacles
to bring a new measure of freedom to both the sky and the earth below.]

only a few miles away at the state

fairgrounds a huge gathering of
the Ku Klux Klan took place.
Airplanes of the post-World War
I era were still flimsy contraptions
and particularly unforgiving. Regrettably, on May 1, 1926, while on
a pre-show flight in Jacksonville,
Florida, Colemans Jenny flipped
over, causing her to plummet to her
death. The reason for the anomalous motion was traced to a misplaced wrench that jammed the
controls. Colemans mechanic died
in the same mishap.
Coleman had sought to establish a flight academy for AfricanAmericans. She wanted members
of the black community with an
interest in aviation to not have to
go through the travails she had experienced in search of training. Her
dream of racially tolerant flight
instruction was dashed at least
temporarily with her demise. Nevertheless, her shattering of longaccepted conventions about both
blacks and women gave strength
to the disenfranchised that they
might someday take to the skies.
Thanks to Colemans example,
Chicago became a hotbed of black
flying. Indeed, flying clubs bearing the late pilots name sprang
up there and elsewhere. Her lasting impact was further evidenced
in 1931 when a group of local pilots started the tradition of flying
over her grave site in Chicago and
dropping flowers in her memory.
Years later, Colemans spirit was
even more conspicuously honored
in the city where, against extraordinary odds, she proudly gave
flight to black wings and propagated her dream that anything is
possible. Air travelers at Chicagos
OHare International Airport,
one of the busiest air terminuses
in the world, are touched daily
by the legacy of the undaunted
pilot. As they scurry across the
grounds to make their flights to
all corners of the globe, it is hard
not to notice that the facilitys
main thoroughfare is named Bessie Coleman Drive.

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Light Plane Heritage

published in EAA Experimenter February 1993



EAA 1235

Last month we discussed the Avro

Avian light biplane of the 1920s. This
month wed like to remark that fliers
tend to become so absorbed in the
technical aspects of aircraft, they often overlook the wonderful humaninterest stories that abound in aviation. At a time when our young
people are so greatly in need of wholesome and inspiring role models, its regrettable that many aviation heroes of
the past have been largely forgotten.
By telling the story of one of them,
perhaps we can remind todays aviation boosters that in flyings great heritage, there are many people whose
stories are very much worth retelling.
One of the people who worked
in the Avro factory in the Hamble
section of Southampton, England,
during the 1920s was a chap from
Australia named Bert Hinkler. Few
modern aviation fans will recognize that name, but in his day he
was one of the British Empires bestknown airmen.
Herbert John Louis Hinkler was
born late in 1892 at Bundaberg on
Australias east coast, 200 miles north
of Brisbane. His mother, Frances, was
a strong-willed young woman from
a family that had pioneered in that
area, and his father, John, had come
from Germany in search of a better
future. Bundaberg 100 years ago was

Extensively modied from its original 1926 Lympne lightplane competition

form, the Avro Avian G-EBOV carried Australian airman Bert Hinkler 12,000
grueling miles from England to Australia in February of 1928.
a busy town of 3,000 souls, and the
commercial center for a sugar cane
growing industry that had developed
in the area.
As a boy Hinkler was a small
child, and even as an adult was a
mere 5 feet 3 inches tall. Nonetheless, the healthy life he led in semirural Bundaberg helped him to grow
into sturdy manhood, and to have a
mind of his own.
Near the grammar school he attended was a lagoon where flocks
of a large wading bird called the ibis
came to forage. Though ungainly
looking on the ground they have

large, long wings that give them

magnificent soaring ability. He was
fascinated with them and dreamed
of joining them aloft.
In the last decades of the 19th
century, men like Lilienthal, Ader,
Hargrave, Chanute, Pilcher, Maxim,
and Langley had been studying and
experimenting in the field of mancarrying aircraft. By the time Hinkler was a schoolboy, literature about
their discoveries had begun to reach
even such odd corners of the world as
Bundaberg. He managed to find and
devour much of it.
Soon Hinkler was catching birds

Editors Note: The Light Plane Heritage series in EAAs Experimenter magazine often touched on aircraft and concepts
related to vintage aircraft and their history. Since many of our members have not had the opportunity to read this series, we plan on publishing those LPH articles that would be of interest to VAA members. Enjoy!HGF

16 JANUARY 2012

to weigh and measure them. He even

killed and skinned an ibiswith the
feathers still in placeand worked
the skin into a crude model glider. At
14 he was working in a local foundry
and had the wherewithal to construct
what he optimistically called a mancarrying glider. But no matter how
fast he ran, or how hard he flapped its
wings, the contrivance never got him
up there with the ibises.
Swallowing his disappointment,
he continued to work at the foundry
and kept up with aviations progress. By the time he was 19, in 1911,
he was mature and knowledgeable
enough to design and build a real
glider. It was of tail-first design, and
save for the makeshift materials used
in its construction, looked rather like
todays hang gliders.
Accompanied by some young
friends, he towed it by trailer several miles to an area of sand dunes
at the seashore and set it up. To take
advantage of the steady wind coming off the Pacific Ocean and to test
it prudently, they flew it at the end
of a rope much like a kite. Hinkler
managed to soar as high as 30 feet
with the glider under somewhat uncertain control. But to him, tethered flight lacked the appeal that
he knew from his reading that free,
propelled flight must offer.
Progress in flying had been so rapid
since the Wrights first flew in 1903
that by 1911 there were even correspondence courses in aviation. Hinkler signed up for one and applied
himself to it diligently. That was his
characterserious, studious, persistent, yet adventurous and ambitious.
Hinklers understanding of the scientific and mathematical basis of flight
expanded quickly. And like many
other young people, he itched to get
out of his isolated, boring hometown.
Hinklers opportunity came in May
of 1912, with the sudden arrival in
Bundaberg of a barnstorming American airman by the name of Wizard
Stone. Operating out of Sydney, he
travelled around setting up and exhibiting his Bleriot monoplane. Airplanes at that time were still such a
novelty that people would willingly

pay just to look at a real flying machine close up.

It was Hinklers chance to see
both a real flying machine and a
genuine aviator, so he was one of
the first to show up at the tent. During demonstration flights the Bleriot experienced wing problems.
Feeling like a deckhand telling the
admiral that his fly was open, Hinkler approached Wizard and, as tactfully as he could, pointed out that
perhaps the overhead brace wires
should be stronger. Wizard looked
at the short, serious youth in surprise. But apparently he felt Hinklers advice was sound and installed
stronger wires. The Bleriot then flew
well. And wonder of wonders, right
then and there the astonished and
thrilled Hinkler found himself hired
as mechanic for a tour of Australia.
The two had many adventures
and misadventures. Wind and engine trouble often kept the plane
from making advertised exhibition
flights, and disappointed crowds
could become ugly. The year 1913
saw the pair in New Zealand. One
day, when 1,000 paying customers
showed up to watch a flight, it was
so windy that Hinkler was all in favor
of the ship remaining in its tent. But
the bold and nervous Wizard felt under pressure to fly.
Seventy feet into the air, turbulence
upset the Bleriot, a wingtip clipped a
tree, and the plane cartwheeled into
the ground. The Wizard crawled out
of the demolished Bleriot with a broken collarbone and a collection of
scrapes. The already much-repaired
plane was now obviously beyond further repair. Hinkler was suddenly unemployed, and a few days later he
boarded a ship going to Sydney.
While waiting around for Wizard
to pay him off, Hinkler hatched the
idea of going to England, where he
knew from aviation magazines there
was more flying activity. He and a
buddy were able to get jobs aboard
a German freighter bound for Hamburg. Finally, in London in March
1914, he was extremely fortunate
to get a job at the Sopwith Aeroplane Works. Although his work in-

volved hours of toil at a workbench,

he happily realized he had a foot
on the bottom rung of a ladder that
soared skyward.
For a young fellow from obscure
Bundaberg, it was a heady feeling
to be in the middle of intense aviation activity. He looked into learning to fly, but found the price of
lessons to be more than he could affordprobably much to the relief
of his parents. All through his career and travels, by the way, he kept
them well informed of his doings by
means of long, detailed, and usually
very enthusiastic letters.
War broke out in the fall of 1914.
Hinklers aviation experience got
him into the Royal Flying Corps.
Because his knowledge of aviation
mechanics was far superior to that
of most recruits, he was posted to a
Royal Naval Air Service costal patrol
base at Whitley Bay near Newcastle
on the North Sea coast.
His duties there were primarily
mechanical, but he often served as
gunner on patrol flights and began
to develop air sense. Always highly
inventive, he greatly pleased his superiors by designing a bomb release
mechanism that weighed only one
pound, compared to the nine for
some devices then in use.
In 1916 he was transferred to London and in early 1917 went to an
R.N.A.S. base near Dunkirk. He served
as gunner aboard two-seaters such
as the de Havilland 4 and the huge
Handley Page O/400 bombers, which
had 100-foot wingspans. His letters
home were rich with descriptions of
the weird, fascinating, and frightening sensations of riding in gunners
cockpits of these huge box kites as
they twisted and rolled in the darkness of night to avoid German searchlight beams and anti-aircraft fire.
By the time he was sent back to
England in September 1917 he had
been on 122 flights over the lines, of
which 36 were bombing raids. He was
awarded the Distinguished Service
Medal (DSM). While on homeward
flights in two-seaters, pilots often let
him take the controls, and so he began to learn the feel of a plane.


18 JANUARY 2012


Back in England he met a hospital sister named Nancy, whom he

courted and eventually married. Finally convinced of the value of military aviation, British officialdom on
April 1, 1918, combined the R.N.A.S.
and the Royal Flying Corps into the
Royal Air Force. And at long last, Hinkler was posted to a real flying school.
In July of that year he qualified as a
pilot. He wrote bubbling enthusiastic
letters home describing what it was
like to go skylarking in the fast, nimble, and also tricky Sopwith Camel
He finished the war with an R.A.F.
Camel squadron operating on the Italian Front. Flying in that region often
involved getting into clouds, some of
which contained Alps Mountains.
Now, since qualifying as a pilot, he
had been nursing an ideahow great
it would be to go home to Bundaberg
in an airplane instead of a crowded
troopship. While awaiting demobilization in England, he set about to
find a way to do just that.
His old employer, Sopwith, had
modified a Pup single-seater into a
two-seat civilian version called the
Dove. By the time Hinkler saw it for
the first time, he had already started
serious work on planning a route and
schedule for a flight to Australia. Sensing the publicity value of such a bold
demonstration of an airplanes capability, and impressed with the thorough seriousness of Hinklers flight
plan, the Sopwith people told him
theyd be happy to work with him if
he could find financial backing.
The Dove was powered by an 80hp LeRhone rotary engine, a type
designed for a short but merry life
on the nose of a combat plane.
Everyone Hinkler approached for
backing told him they thought he
was bonkers. Thats British slang for
crazy as a coot. Among other faults,
World War I rotary engines had
huge fuel and oil appetites.
The amazing progress made in aircraft design during that conflict had
other people thinking of the possibilities of commercial aviation. Early in
1919 the Australian government, for
example, posted a 10,000-pound ster-

The Avro Avian and Bert Hinkler at Hamble before leaving for Australia. With
Hinkler (center) are Roy Chadwick, chief designer, and R.J. Parrott, general
manager of the A.R. Roe and Co. Ltd.
ling prize for the first flight from England to its country. It would cost a lot
of money to find, buy, and prepare an
aircraft for such an undertaking.
Several parties tried. In a memorable flight that started on November
12 and ended on December 12 of that
year, Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith won
the prize. Their plane was a war surplus Vickers Vimy bomber powered
by two Rolls-Royce Eagle engines of
360 hp each. At that time they were
considered very dependable. With a
span of 67 feet, the Vimy could carry
a good fuel load but at the same time
was more manageable than the huge
Handley Pages.
That triumph put an end to Hinklers hopes of winning the prize.
He went to work for Avro at Hamble. There he became intrigued with
the Avro Baby lightplane then being developed. He had the privilege
and thrill of taking the prototype up
for its first flight. He liked it, became
very good at flying it, and in spite of
the fact that it was powered by a 35hp Green engine of 1910 vintage, he
talked Avro into selling it to him at a
price he could afford.
He had written so often to his parents about the idea of flying home
to Bundaberg that he had come to
feel under obligations to make good.
What appealed to him about the
Green engine was that it was so simple that he felt he could repair it in
almost any remote place. He overhauled both the plane and its engine,
and installed a larger fuel tank of 25

gallons capacity.
And so at daybreak on the dank,
chilly morning of May 31, 1920, he
took off from Croydon aerodrome
and headed for the English Channel.
Over France and the cloud-wrapped
Alps he flew, and finally landed at Turin in northern Italy. This nonstop
flight of 650 miles took nine and a
half hours and set a new lightplane
distance record.
Two days later he took off for
Rome, where he made the frustrating
discovery that an Arab uprising in the
Middle East would make it impossible
to get permission to fly over that region to get to India and beyond. In a
series of shorter flights, he returned to
England and his work at Avro.
By now his long experience with
aircraft made him a valuable test pilot. He had an ability to discover and
analyze shortcomings in new aircraft,
which was of great help to designers. He test flew the Avro Aldershot
bomber, which was powered by a
single 1,000-hp Napier engine. This
huge mill had 16 cylinders arranged
in banks of four to form an X configuration. Because of his short stature, he had to sit on two cushions to
reach the controls.
A quirky side of Hinklers personality was shown by his habit of wearing a long overcoat and black derby
while test flying. One photo shows
him wearing what look like platform
shoes. He also had a tendency to
avoid the press, a trait that sometimes
helped and sometimes hurt him.


Bert Hinkler
He saved his money, won some
extra in flying competitions, and
was finally able to book passage to
Australia aboard a steamship. The
securely crated Avro Baby went
along as freight. Arriving at Sydney,
he got the crate out to the airfield
and quietly set about assembling
and checking the little plane in his
usual very careful, skilled manner.
Then on the morning of April 11,
1921, he took off and headed north
toward Bundaberg, 700 miles away.
In those days the idea of flying such
a distance in a lightplane was unheard of. But several hours later the
little silver Avro circled low over
Bundaberg, with Hinkler waving excitedly from the cockpit. He landed
in a field next to the foundry where
he had once worked. Then he taxied
along a dirt road and came to a stop
at the doorstep of his parents house
for a reunion with the family he had
not seen for nine years.
This accomplishment set world
and Australian records for a nonstop lightplane flight, and brought
Hinkler much favorable attention.
He looked into Australian civil aviation, but there was so little going
on at that time that he felt it best to
return to England and Avro. Before
departing, he sold the Avro to an

Australian pilot, and after a long,

active life, it ended up on display
in the Queensland South Bank Museum in Brisbane.
Hinkler flew Avros motorcycleengined light monoplane in the
1923 Lympne competitions, and
went to the United States in 1924
with the British Schneider cup team.
In 1926 he helped develop the Avro
Avian light, two-seat biplane for that
years Lympne contest. He was its pilot there and was doing well when
forced to drop out by fuel tank and
engine problems.
In August of 1927 he agreed to
go to Riga in Latvia to test fly a new
plane. By that time, he had bought
and modified the Lympne Avian
and decided to fly it there. Leaving
Croydon early in the morning and
in passable weather, he reached Riga
more than 1,200 miles away, late in
the afternoon and at the end of 10.5
hours in the air. This and the return
flight via Berlin gave him an opportunity to evaluate the long-distance
capabilitiescapable if not spectacular. The idea of a solo flight to Australia was still in his mind.
The Avians original five-cylinder
Genet radial engine of 60 hp had
been replaced with an 80-hp A.B.C.
Cirrus having four cylinders inline.
The original squared-off wingtips
had been replaced by new ones of
semi-elliptical outline, probably to
reduce drag and increase range in
long-distance flights. The rudderonly vertical tail had been replaced
with a conventional one having
both fin and rudder. The front
cockpit had had its seat replaced
by a large-capacity fuel tank, to give
the ship a total fuel capacity of 66
gallons. A somewhat bulgy-looking
headrest was installed on top of
the fuselage aft of the rear cockpit,
and in it was stowed an inflatable
rubber raft.
Convinced that he now had a
plane thoroughly able and reliable
enough for the formidably long
flight to Australia, he sought but
failed to get financial backing. A
number of long-distance flights in
1927 had ended in disaster, and re-

sponsible people with money took

a dim view of this kind of activity.
But so strong was Hinklers desire
to realize his dream that he decided
to make the flight on his own meager resources. It would be necessary
for Nancy to remain in England because a gas tank occupied the Avians passenger cockpit.
The plane had no radio or sophisticated instruments. As in his Turin
and Riga flights, Hinklers navigation equipment consisted of nothing more than a good compass, an
ordinary groundlings Times Atlas,
and a navigation board he had invented. This was a crude forerunner
of later navigation calculators and
could quickly perform simple wind
drift figuring. We can only guess at
how he solved compass variation
problems; perhaps local airmen
along his route offered advice.
The morning of February 7, 1928,
dawned damp and misty. The Cirrus
was started, and while it was warming up, Hinkler and his wife bid each
other nervous and thus somewhat
perfunctory goodbyes. The Avro
taxied out onto Croydons turf and
took off into a ground fog, which
was fortunately soon left behind.
Hinkler retraced his 1921 route to
Turin, climbing to a very cold 8,000
feet to get over the cloud-shrouded
Alps. After passing Turin he headed
down the Italian peninsula. To the
right was the coastline, and off
to the left were the Apennines, a
mountain range running down the
spine of Italy. These features formed
a corridor that led him south to
Rome. After 12 hours and 45 minutes in the Avians cold, drafty cockpit, he spotted an airfield at Rome
and landed in the dark.
Alas, the field proved to be a military one and a multilingual hassle
with the police quickly ensued. But
finally things were straightened out
and he went to a hotel. Upon returning to the field the following
morning, Hinkler was appalled to
see that the field had many tall radio towers, which he had very fortunately missed in the dark.
continued next month in the February issue


Just a Long Cross-Country

in an Antique, Right?
A ferry flight adventure

ike many old airplane

stories, my tale begins
quite a number of years
ago, and it involves
friends new and old. In
fact, its a story that is at
least as much about people as it is
about flying machinery.

Falling for a Pretty Airplane

More than a year ago, my friend
Mitch Garner sent me an e-mail focusing my attention on an online
ad for a nice-looking antique airplane. One of Mitchs favorite hobbies is helping other people find
ways to spend money, and this
time he hit the jackpot. The ad was
for an airplane I knew well, from
about 15 years earlier.

20 JANUARY 2012


At that time I was a resident at

the Fall Creek Airpark in Lebanon,
Tennessee, along with another good
friend, Ted Beckwith. Ted is a real
pilots pilot and a fellow antique airplane admirer. He was flying a beautiful Fairchild 24G for an owner
who had commissioned the aircraft
to be restored by a renowned craftsman, Richard Blazier of Tullahoma,
Tennessee. Unfortunately, when the
project was completed the owner
had some health problems, so he
asked Ted to take it home to his
hangar to fly it and keep it active.
During that time I frequently visited Ted at his hangar, and I always
stopped to admire the Fairchild. I
mentally put the sweet flying 24
series as an airplane to put on my

bucket list. Then, and Im sure you

are ahead of me, some 15 years
later the airplane in the ad turned
out to be the very same plane. It
still looked very good.
I am blessed to have a beautiful and understanding wife, Kathleen, who at least semi-understands
this airplane obsession of mine. Although I already had two other aircrafta Baron for fast trips and a
7ECA Citabria for flight training and
hamburger runsI soon found myself on an airliner heading for Twin
Falls, Idaho, in early November
2009. We are residents of Falmouth
Airpark on beautiful Cape Cod, and
Idaho is a long way away. But the
Fairchild is an airplane, so I could
fly it home in just a few days, right?

Left: We, after our arrival in western

Tennessee. With the No. 5 piston
disintegrating and chewing up the
interior of the 145 Warner, it started
smoking and dumping oil overboard,
particularly down the belly and the
port side of the fuselage.

We Are on Our Way

The price seemed attractive, the
airframe looked good, and overall
the airplane looked much the same
as when I had seen it last. The 24G
had a 145-hp Warner Super Scarab
installed on the pointy end, and
although I am an A&P/IA, I knew
little about Warner engines. Compression on each of the cylinders
was good during the abbreviated
pre-buy inspection, the oil screens
were clean, and the logs looked
okay, although it was clear that at
600 hours since major, the time
was getting long for an orphan
radial engine. All in all, I was soon
the owner of this classic aircraft.
While I had quite a bit of experience in old airplanes, I approached
the long trip home with a fair degree
of concern. After all, this was a very
long ferry flight back to my home
and shop, in an unfamiliar airplane.
I really did not know how the airplane would perform, particularly at
the altitudes at which we would have
to fly on the trip home. I was sure it
would be a challenge. But, what the
heck, I thought. After retiring from
an airline career a year before, I was a
little itchy for another air adventure,
so away we went. And I mean we
in the Lindbergh sense.
It was later in the day than I
would have liked to get started, but
I decided to try to get a couple of
hours down the road before nightfall. The weather was good and unseasonably warm for the time of
year. I resolved to make the trip as
IFR (I follow roads) as possible. Sunset found me at Brigham City, Utah.
A really nice thing about traveling by old airplane is that people
just naturally tend to come out to
see the bird after you land. Nice
folks steered me to a courtesy car
and the good motels and restau-

rants in the area. So, I was set, and

later that night I was thrilled to
find out my granddaughter Chloe
had been born that day.
The next day presented what I
thought would be the toughest part
of the trip. There are few options
to get across this great land of ours
that do not present the challenge of
high terrain. I had hoped to follow
the old airmail route across Wyoming and the Rocky Mountains,
along Interstate 80, from Provo to
Cheyenne and beyond. Flying a
Staggerwing I had been blessed to
own for 10 years, I had flown the
route many years before.
I studied the charts again and remembered the terrain along that
course ranged around 7,500 feet
or so. I thought we would have
to make at least 8,500 feet for the
crossing, and as I said, I was not
sure how the plane would perform.
Further complicating matters was

that although the ceiling and visibility were unlimited out in the
west, as is often the case, there
was a wind warning for the Rockies, predicting winds to 50 knots,
mostly on our tail. This F-24G was
equipped with fuel tanks that were
unusually capacious for this model,
at a total of 60 gallons. So, with me
aboard, my bags and tools, bottles
of oil, etc., we were at max gross
weight for takeoff.
I knew we would need the fuel
to cross Wyoming and continue
into Nebraska to escape the winds.
Still, I was wary of the performance
available at these weights, and the
turbulence and other conditions we
might encounter, especially due to
the winds. I resolved I would depart
Brigham City and climb to 8,500
feet or more and see what the performance and turbulence was like.
If conditions did not seem right,
I would abandon the Highway 80

Looking as nice as it did 15 years before, the Warner-powered Fairchild

awaits my judgment. By the end of the day it was mine to enjoy and take
care of.

A landing into the wind in the large, freshly harvested bean eld meant an
approach between the two structures in the background.


Using a cruciform brace in the pickup trucks bed, the tail wheel was secured
to the brace with multiple straps for the 60-mile journey back to Charles
Baker Airport.

Not quite the way I thought Id be IFR (I follow roads).

plan and proceed across the Four
Corners area to Albuquerque. I was
determined to leave viable outs
along the entire trip home.
As it happened, we were able to
climb to 8,500 feet, and although
there was wind wave activity, I felt
we could make it across Wyoming.
I was quite wary of the possibility
for downdrafts and realized that
this would take great care. Still, in a
74-year-old wind wagon sporting
a heroic 145 horses, the route was
much like flying a sailplane.
With the power set from idle to
max cruise rpm, at times we were
ascending with little ability to re-

22 JANUARY 2012

sist, and at other times we were

sinking with not enough power to
arrest it. If nothing else, we were
making great time with the strong
tail winds. I considered forcedlanding situations and possible areas where we might come down if
the power were to fail. I realized the
outcome was dicey with that kind
of wind on the ground.
A tense three hours later we were
going past Cheyenne. The wind was
still howling there, so as I originally
planned, we pressed on to Sidney,
Nebraska, where the wind had subsided to a mere 25 knots. After a
tough four-and-a-half-hour flight,

we were back on terra firma. I was

completely spent. Again, there were
more nice people to meet, especially the FBO owner who also had
a Fairchild, who sent me off in his
courtesy car and with directions to
a restaurant that served, in his opinion, the best beef in the country.
Early the next morning we were
off again. We were past the Continental Divide, and the elevation
steadily, but slowly, decreased. The
terrain was also quite flat now, so I
abandoned the roads and cheated
with the wonder of modern technology contained within my Garmin
496, and headed out in a straight
line toward Memphis, Tennessee.
My old friend and fellow antiquer
Steve Freeman had just retired from
FedEx as an Airbus training captain, and I was eager to get to the
retirement party at his hangar at
the Charles Baker Airport. While I
was happy that the terrain and wind
were far less threatening, wouldnt
you just know that the howling
west wind had turned to a steady 15
out of the southeast! I soon realized
that mathematically it was going to
make the Memphis area by nightfall
very difficult. A 15-knot head wind
slows progress considerably in a
95-knot airplane. At least there was
some compensation to the southeast flow. On this early November
day, even at 5,500 feet, the OAT was
80 Fahrenheit.
After a fuel stop at Abilene, Kansas, we pressed on to get as far as
we could before nightfall. As much
as I wanted to make it to the party,
I wasnt going to fly this thing after dark. It wasnt even close, and
Aurora, Missouri, was the end of
our day. Again, more nice folks, another offered courtesy car, and directions to a restful evening.
Another early start found us
on our way on a beautiful, windless morning. Along our route I
noticed the famous Gastons Resort in Lakeview, Arkansas, with
its own gorgeous grass runway. It
was a Sunday, and I was aware of
Gastons outstanding reputation
for brunch, so what was I to do? I

brought it down for a three-point

landing on the beautiful turf. Up to
this point I had been doing wheel
landings, and while the view ahead
was somewhat restricted, the characteristics of the old bird were quite
benign. The incredibly long Fairchild shock absorbers made the arrival downy soft.
As expected, the brunch was incredible, and after a little fuel, the
meal and I tested the lifting ability of those rather large Fairchild
wooden wings. I gave silent thanks
to those Warner engineers of old as
we climbed out of the gorge of the
White River.
Two hours of flying found us finally crossing the Mississippi into
Tennessee. Steve and some of his
friends had been loitering in their
planes around the river, to accompany me to Charles Baker, but I
was late after my feast at Gastons.
By and by, I was meeting many of
Steves friends and sampled the
remnants of his retirement cake.

Early the next morning, with
dew heavy upon the grass, we
launched for Tullahoma. The sky
was slightly hazy with the sun just
above the horizon as we watched
for and passed the high radio towers just northeast of Memphis. The
rather leisurely cruising speed of
the F-24 gives you a lot of time to
appreciate the passing scenery, and
the farmland of western Tennessee
was beautiful that morning.
About a half-hour out I decided to change tanks, turning on
the right tank with the Lindberg
valve, and then off on the left. As
I wrote down the time for the fuel
switch on my Howgozit notepad,
I thought I detected a slight change
in the sound of the engine, perhaps
a trifle more vibration, but mostly
just a change in the sound to
which I had become accustomed. I
pondered that for a moment or two
and then switched the tanks back
to how they previously had been
configured. Perhaps there was a bit
of water in the fuel in that tank

that had happened before in other

aircraft. My mind started some selftalk as I pondered the problem.
Uh, no, that doesnt seem to have
fixed anything, and if anything, perhaps the vibration is a little more pronounced. Look at the gaugesnothing
obvious there. Oh boy, now its starting to surge a bit, then more so. Try
the mags, no help. Where is the nearest airport? Jackson, Tennessee, is
about 35 degrees left, but 15 miles. An
eternity in this buggy, but well turn
toward it all the same. A little more
vibration, more power surging. Start
thinking about a decent place to land.
We had been cruising about 1,800 to
2,200 feet AGL, and from our position above the farmland below there
were many possible landing sites, but
look carefully while flying the airplane
for potential hazards in the various
fields. That one has a drainage ditch,
the next boulders.
Then the smoke started, erupting
out of the right side of the cowling and streaming back first whitish and then a black, oily smoke. I
hurried the landing site search and
nursed the plane along. The smoke
started to fill the cabin, and it was
time to get serious. At about 11
oclock was a longish field, parallel
to a decent-sized road with a power
line alongside. There were many
fields, but that one looked the best.
Okay, chop the switches and fuel
youre committed now. Fly the plane,
concentrate, and rely on stick and
rudder flying skills your instructors
instilled over the years. Downwind,
judge the point for the base turn, not
much wind to worry about. Now the
base leg, how does it look? High, low,
or just right? Seems good, square the
turn to final. Think about egress if we
flip over. We are coming in between a
grain silo and a large processing building; the glide takes us between the two.
Okay, the speed is good, in the slot it
seems, and now flare it for the threepoint. Glad I practiced this yesterday
at Gastons! The long shock absorbers
allow the mains to start rolling long
before any real weight is placed on
the wheels, and the sound tells me the
ground is pretty firm. All is going well

enough to use a little energy in the rollout to swing toward the road. In the
time it takes to tell it, it is all over.
The plane was upright, undamaged, and the smoke had stopped.
It was so quiet! I sat a moment as a
car on Highway 179 blasted past. I
jumped out and looked at the Fairchild, and the first thing I did was
laugh. From my first flying lesson
42 years ago I heard my instructor telling me to keep an eye out
for forced landing locations, and
to think about how you would fly
an approach to that field. Countless
thousands of times over the many
intervening years I did just that,
and it might have taken a long
time, but it finally happened!
Cars continued to drive by, and
a good five minutes passed before
one stopped and the driver asked if
all was okay. I guess planes trailing
smoke and landing in farm fields
is more common an occurrence
out there? The driver told me that
the farmer who manages the field,
Simon Wengerd, would be along
soon, and he was. A very nice fellow, Simon offered much help and


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Fourteen hours after the forced landing, the Fairchild was safely stored in
the back of Steve Freemans hangar.
had little concern for the oil dripping onto the field after streaming
off my damaged airplane, saying
he would clean it up by and by. He
had seen me pass overhead, trailing smoke. He said I was lucky. The
week before they had harvested
the soybeans that had been in this
field, and the soil had been quite
soft and mushy.
There we were, somewhere in
western Tennessee, around 60 miles
east of Memphis, in a field with a
quite unairworthy airplane. If you
are ever in a jam like this, I hope
you are as fortunate as I was to be
in range of one of the best friends
a person could have, a fellow like
Steve Freeman. We have known
each other maybe 25 years, and
we were across-the-taxiway hangar neighbors when we lived in Camarillo, California. I called Steve
from my cellphone (thanks, Verizon) and told him of my plight.
He asked me where I was, and after
a little conversation with my new
friend Simon we settled that. Steve
told me to hang tight, that help
was on the way. I later found out he
was just climbing into his truck to
drive to Texas when my call came
in. All plans changed, and he began
to mobilize people, materials, tools,
and vehicles to come to my rescue.

24 JANUARY 2012

Simon took me into the small

town close by for a sweet roll and
coffee, where I hung out for a while
awaiting the recovery forces. In a
little more than two hours Steve arrived with his brother Chris Freeman, who had been out from
California to help celebrate Steves
retirement. Oh, and did I mention
both Steve and Chris are both longtime A&P/IAs?
Also arriving were friends of
Steves from Charles Baker Airport,
Ron Spence and Jim Dearborn,
both aircraft owners and restorers
and FedEx captains as well. We had
a convoy of three pickup trucks, a
long flat-bed trailer, and the tools
and generators to do the job. Ron
and Jim didnt even know me, but
they turned out at a moments notice to help a fellow aviator in need.
They worked hard and quickly. Sincere thanks, you guys.
So, after a bit of planning, we
set to it. First, we towed the plane
slowly, tail-first, back to the parking lot of the soybean-processing
house I had flown by on the way
in. We drained the fuel into many
storage cans, which were brought
in by the group. Then, the wings
were removed and placed on the
trailer, as were the tail surfaces. It really helped that most of the fellows

had experience with recovering offairport emergency landings. There

was little learning curve involved.
The decision was made to tow
the plane on its gear, backward, to
the airport, with the tailwheel secured into the back of one of the
trucks by means of a cruciform
frame built out of 2-by-6 stock.
Many straps secured the plane
to the truck, and then a call was
placed to a friend of Steves who is
a sheriff, regarding the rather extreme width of the Fairchild wheel
base. We had around 60 road miles
to backtrack to Baker, and law enforcement agencies were alerted.
Long before sundown we were
off, back to Steves hangar. While
the towing operation is a story in
itself, thanks to the efforts of the
entire crew we had the F-24 back
where it had come from that morning, in time for me to take the crew
out for dinner. It was a truly amazing recovery, successfully accomplished by some great friends, old
and new. If you are ever in a spot
like this, I hope you have these
kind of people around to help. We
really do have some of the best
folks anywhere in this special world
of aviation.
Next began a many-month-long
effort to overhaul an engine and reinstall it in the old bird. Much was
learned about Fairchilds and Warner engines in particular, before the
plane was good to go once again.
Many of the fine folks at Baker airport stored parts and pieces during
the winter and spring for me, and
many thanks to all of them.
Al Holloway of Holloway Engineering in California is an outstanding craftsman specializing in
the overhaul of antique aircraft engines, and he was selected to do an
overhaul of a 145. The engine installed in this incident is not likely
to fly as an individual engine again.
It seems the piston in the No. 5 position actually disintegrated. The
wrist pin was found still in its
proper place, but the piston was no
longer there!
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Simon Wengerd, the helpful farmer who tills the western Tennessee eld
in which I landed, saw the Fairchild trailing smoke while the Warner
was disintegrating as I made a forced landing on the recently harvested
soybean eld.
guess is that the piston in question
might very well have been an aftermarket unit, although the records
were too sketchy to tell for sure. So,
the shrapnel from the disintegrating piston was thrown throughout
the engine; amazingly there was a
great deal of pea-sized aluminum
found. Not in the No. 5 cylinder,
but in No. 4, after having been
sucked through the intake manifold, past the intake valve, and into
the No. 4 cylinder!
Unfortunately, debris also ricocheted around inside the case,
which is tight enough to begin with. The cylinder bases were
belled out so that most could
not be removed from the case, at
least without extraordinary effort.
Al Holloway reported that he had
not seen an engine so completely
damaged from an in-flight failure
as this one!
Eventually the new engine
was completed, and Steve and I
installed it over a period of many
days. Previous to this Steve asked if
I minded if he reassembled the aircraft, knowing that loose parts tend
to disappear. Since I never look a
gift horse in the mouth, I readily
agreed. He and the good folks at
Baker airport worked diligently for
me once again. Did I mention the
good fortune I had to come down

26 JANUARY 2012

where I did?
Many lessons are to be learned
from this incident, I believe. First,
any delivery flight of a new-to-you
aircraft has an elevated level of risk,
particularly when it is an antique
or homebuilt on the far side of the
country. It is unrealistic to expect
the same level of reliability in old
antique aircraft, as in newer, more
common equipment.
Engines, especially orphan
engines from defunct manufacturers, are not immune from failure.
Parts have not been made new in
many cases for decades, and the
supply of NOS (new old stock)
parts often are dwindling. There
are a few dedicated craftsmen out
there like Al Holloway, but the
support network is getting tighter
all the time.
With some rare machines like
these, it is quite difficult for a general aircraft maintenance shop to
do detailed inspections and repairs
without extensive knowledge of the
specific type of aircraft and/or engine. While FAR 43 Appendix D lays
down guidelines for performing an
annual inspection of most aircraft,
it is of necessity quite general and
non-specific. Type clubs are a valuable resource for many aircraft, and
it is best to do your homework with
them and the reference material

they often have available prior to

purchasing a more unique machine.
You may wish to download a copy
of Best Practices Guide for Maintaining
Aging General Aviation Airplanes published by the FAA in 2003 and available on the VAA homepage at www.
Still, you may encounter situations such as what happened to
me, where a new-to-you aircraft
must be ferried long distances.
You must take many factors into
account, and by no means assume
total reliability in any aircraft, especially one you are only superficially
acquainted with.
Indeed, in the old days, an
emergency off-airport landing story
such as this would have been a
rather common one. Assess your
experience, both as an airman and
with this type of airplane, along
with factors such as weather, route,
and terrain.
In retrospect, my decision to
cross Wyoming on such a windy
day may have not been the wisest course, as an engine failure as I
experienced a few days later could
have had a much different outcome that day. Also, proper planning for flight following could
prove vital. Although I came down
in a rural but not remote area, it
could have been a quite different
situation elsewhere. I had a PLB
(personal locator beacon) Spot locator with me, and friends actually
saw my progress stop real-time on
their computers, and Google Earth
revealed to them the farmland I
alighted upon.
Above all, work to maintain your
flying skills, and often consider abnormal situations and the best way
to handle them. It might be on
your next flight, or one many years
down the road, but you just might
encounter something that earlier
planning and consideration helped
you to deal with.
And never forget, friends are
wonderful things to have. Anyone
of us could be either on the helping or receiving end, but we are certainly all better together.


Aeronca Aviators Club
Robert Szego
P.O. Box 66
Coxsackie, NY 12051
Dues: $32 1-yr, $60 2-yrs;
Intl $37 1-yr, $69 2-yrs
Aeronca Aviator, Qtrly
Fearless Aeronca Aviators (f-AA)
John Rodkey
280 Big Sur Dr.
Goleta, CA 93117
Dues: None
National Aeronca Association
Jim Thompson
304 Adda Street
Roberts, IL 60962
Auster Club
Stuart Bain
31 Swain Court
Lake Ronkonkoma
New York, NY 1179
Beech Aero Club
P.O. Box 2023
Magnolia, AR 71754-2023
T-34 Association, Inc.
880 North County Road, 900-E
Tuscola, IL 61953-7560
$50/yr Paper; $25 Electronic
Mentor Monitor, Qtrly
Bellanca-Champion Club
Robert Szego
P.O. Box 100
Coxsackie, NY 12051
$38 1-yr, $72 2-yrs;
Intl $43 1-y, $81 2-yrs
Publication: B-C Contact!, Qtrly

Bird Airplane Club

Jeannie Hill
P.O. Box 328
Harvard, IL 60033-0328
Postage donation
American Bonanza Society
J. Whitney Hickman Exec. Dir.
Mid-Continent Airport
PO Box 12888
Wichita, KS 67277
$62/yr. US/Canada
ABS Magazine, Monthly
National Bcker Jungmiester Club
Celesta Price
300 Estelle Rice Dr.
Moody, TX 76557
Bcker Club
Website Editor
Stephen Beaver

This aircraft type club information is listed on our

website,, throughout the
year. We list it here for your added convenience.
These groups can be a great resource for you. A
Type Club can save you money, keep you from
making mistakes others have already made, show
you how to restore, maintain and y your airplane in short, provide the equivalent of many
years of hard won experience at a very low cost.
Cessna Owner Organization
Dan Weiler, Executive Director
N7450 Aanstad Rd
Iola, WI 54945
$49.95/yr; or $29.95 Online
Cessna magazine: Monthly
Cessna Pilots Association
John Frank, Exec. Director
3940 Mitchell Rd.
Santa Maria, CA 93455
$55 US, Canada, Mexico;
$70 Intl
CPA Magazine, Monthly
E-ATIS Electronic Wkly
Cessna T-50 The Flying Bobcats
Jon D. Larson
P.O. Box 566
Auburn, WA 98071
Contact club for dues info
Publication: Qtrly

Buhl LA-1 Bull Pup Owners Group

William R. Bill Goebel
894 Heritage Creek Dr.
Rhome, TX 76078

Eastern Cessna 190-195 Association

Jon Barron
30530 Hwy
Perry MO 63462
$15 initial, then as required
Publication: 4/yr

Cessna 150-152 Club

Dan & Jo Ann Meler
P.O. Box 5298
Central Point, OR 97502
$35/yr Internet; $45/yr Print U.S.
Intl see website
Publication: 6/yr

International Bird Dog Association (L-19/O-1)

Dan Kelly
343 Texas Heritage Dr.
LaVernia, TX 78121
$30/yr US and Intl
E-newsletter Monthly

Cessna Flyer Association

Jennifer Dellenbusch
2450 N. Lake Ave. #113
Altadena, CA 91001

International Cessna 120-140 Association

Christian Vehrs, President
P.O. Box 830092
Richardson, TX 75083-0092
$25/yr US,Canada; $35/yr Intl
Publication: 6/yr


International Cessna 170 Assoc.

22 Vista View Lane
Cody, WY 82414
170 News, Qtrly
International Cessna 180-185 Club
Bob Warner
P.O. Box 306
Van Alstyne, TX 75495
Publication: 6/yr
International Cessna 195 Club
Coyle Schwab
632 N. Tyler Rd.
St. Charles, IL 60174
Web area for Members Only
Corben Club
P.O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 magazines
Culver Club
Brent Taylor
P.O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 issues
de Havilland Moth & Chipmunk Club
David M. Harris
2024 75th St
Kenosha, WI 53143
Website coming soon!
Paper Tiger, Electronic
Ercoupe Owners Club
Carolyn T. Carden, Membership/Editor
P.O. Box 7117
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
$25/yr Electronic
$30/yr Paper US; $35 Paper Intl
Coupe Capers, Monthly
Fairchild Club
Mike Kelly
92 N. Circle Dr.
Coldwater, MI 49036
Publication: Qtrly
Fairchild Fan Club
Robert L. Taylor
P. O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 issues. Fairchild Fan

28 JANUARY 2012

International Fleet Club

Jim Catalano
8 Westlin Ln.
Cornwall, NY 12518
Publication: 3-4/yr
Funk Aircraft Owners Association
Thad Shelnutt
2836 California Ave.
Carmichael, CA 95608
Funk Flyer, Monthly
Great Lakes Club
Robert L. Taylor
P. O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 issues
The American Yankee Association (Grumman)
Stewart Wilson
P.O. Box 1531
Cameron Park, CA 95682
$50/yr US & Intl
1st yr U.S. +$7.50; Intl +$10
American STAR, 6/yr
Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association
244411 Airport Road
Tillsonburg, ON N4G 3T9
Hatz Biplane Association
Chuck Brownlow
P.O. Box 85
Wild Rose, WI 54984
Publication: Qtrly
Hatz Club
Barry Taylor
P. O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 issues, Hatz Herald
Heath Parasol Club
William Schlapman
6431 Paulson Road
Winneconne, WI 54986
Howard Club &,Howard Aircraft Foundation
Michael Vaughan, President
6991 N CR 1200 E.
Charleston, IL 61920
Publication: Qtrly

The Arctic & Interstate League

Steve Dawson, 262-642-3649
W626 Beech Dr.
East Troy, WI 53120
Wayne Forshey, 740-472-1481
Newsletter Qtrly via email
Interstate Club
Robert L. Taylor
P.O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 issues, Interstate Intercom
Continental Luscombe Association
Al Fisher, President
28725 NE Tolt Hill Road
Carnation, WI 98014-8205
Mike Culver, Editor
17514 NE 33rd Place
Redmond, WI 98052
$25/yr US; $27.50 Canada; $30 Intl USD
The Courant, 6/yr
Luscombe Association
Steve Krog
1002 Heather Lane
Hartford, WI 53027
$30 US/Canada; $35 Intl USD
Luscombe Assoc. Newsletter: 6/yr
The Luscombe Endowment Inc.
Doug Combs
2487 S. Gilbert Rd Unit # 106
Gilbert, AZ 85295
484-762-6711 Fax
Online and Print
Meyers Aircraft Owners Association
Doug Eshelman
1563 Timber Ridge Dr.
Brentwood, TN 37027
Postage fund donation
Newsletter: 3-4/yr
Monocoupe Club
Frank & Carol Kerner
1218 Kingstowne Place
St. Charles, MO 63304
Dues: 25/yr
Western Association of Mooney Mites
Michael Harms
14949 Road 216
Porterville, CA 93257
Dues: None

N3N Owners & Restorers Association

H. Ronald Kempka
2380 Country Road #217
Cheyenne, WY 82009
Newsletter: 2/yr
American Navion Society
Gary Rankin, President
PMB 335, 16420 SE McGillivray # 103
Vancouver, WA 98683
May - Oct: 360-833-9921
Nov - April: 623-975-4052
$60/yr US; $64 Canada; $74 Intl USD
The Navioneer, 6/yr
Navion Skies
Raleigh Morrow
P.O. Box 2678
Lodi, CA 95241
Fax: 209-367-9390
Email newsletter monthly
NavionX...for the Navion Aficionado
Chris Gardner
1690 Aeronca Lane
Fleming Field Airport (KSGS)
South St Paul, MN 55075
Parrakeet Pilot Club
Barry Taylor
Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 issues 0f The Parrakeet Pilot
Brodhead Pietenpol Association
Doc Mosher
P.O. Box 3501
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3501
Publication: Qtrly
Cub Club
Steve Krog
1002 Heather Lane
Hartford, WI 53027
$35 US/Canada; $40 Intl USD
Cub Clues, 6/yr
International Comanche Society
PO Box 1810
Traverse City, MI 49685-1810
$69/yr US, Canada, Mexico
More options listed on website
The Comanche Flyer, Monthly
Piper Apache Club
John J. Lumley
6778 Skyline Drive
Delray Beach, FL 33446

Piper Aviation Museum Foundation

1 Piper Way
Lock Haven, PA 17745
The Cub Reporter
Piper Flyer Association
Jennifer Dellenbusch
2450 N. Lake Ave. #113
Altadena, CA 91001
Piper Owner Society
N7450 Aanstad Road
Iola, WI 54945
$49.95/yr U.S., add $20 Intl
Publication: Monthly
Steve Pierce
196 Hwy. 380 East
Graham, TX 76450
Donations: Min $25/yr
Online Discussion Forum
Short Wing Piper Club
Eleanor Mills
P.O. Box 10822
Springeld, MO 65808
Dues: $40/yr USA & Canada; $50/yr Intl
Publication: 6/yr for Short Wing Piper News
PO Box 150
Waldron, MO 64092
Donations: Min. $25/yr
Online Discussion Forum
Porterfield Airplane Club
Tom Portereld
3350 Co Rd U; Hangar A
Abernathy, TX 79311
Rearwin Club
Robert L. Taylor
P. O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 issues
Society for the Preservation of Skyrangers
Wayne A. Forshey
46980 Robin Road
Woodseld, OH 43793
International Ryan Club
Lynne Orlo
P.O. Box 990
Groveland, CA 95321
$15/yr online community

1-26 Association
A Division of the Soaring Society of America
Clayton Vickland
Secretary Treasurer
Arlington, VA 22201
703-527-5302 H
703-626-6741 C
$15/yr (website has addl options)
Publication: 6/yr
Stearman Restorers Association
$35/yr US
The Flying Wire, Qtrly
Stinson Historical & Restoration Society
P.O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$24 for 3 issues
Publication: SHARS
International Stinson Club
Logan Boles
210 Blackeld Dr.
Tiburon, CA 94920
Publication: Monthly
National Stinson Club
All Pre-War Models, 10,105, & V-77
Charlie Gay, President
25 Runway Road
Tunkhannock, PA 18657
570-836-3473 voice
$20 US & Canada; $25 Intl
Stinson Plane Talk, 4/yr
Sentinel Owner & Pilots Association
(Stinson L-5)
James H. Gray
1951 W. Coolbrook Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85023
$22 Electronic
$30 US/Canada Print
$40 Intl Print
Newsletter: 2/yr
Swift Museum Foundation, Inc
Charlie Nelson
P. O. Box 644
Athens, TN 37371-0644
Headquarters: 423-745-9547
Parts Department: 423-744-9696
Publication: Monthly
West Coast Swift Wing
Gerry or Carol Hampton
3195 Bonanza Dr
Cameron Park, CA 95682
530-676-7755 voice & fax
$15/yr paper; $5/yr email
Publication: Monthly


Taylorcraft Foundation, Inc.

Forrest Barber, President
13820 Union Ave. NE
Alliance, OH 44601
330-823-1168 President Web

Travel Air Club

Robert L. Taylor
P. O. Box 127
Blakesburg, IA 52536
$18 for 3 issues
Travel Air Talks
Travel Air Restorers Association
Jerry Impellezzeri
4925 Wilma Way
San Jose, CA 95124
$15/yr US; $20 Intl
Travel Air Log, Qtrly

Taylorcraft Owners Club

Steve Krog
1002 Heather Lane
Hartford, WI 53027
$35/yr US, Canada; $40 Intl USD
Taylorcraft News: Qtrly

American Waco Club, Inc.

Phil Coulson
28415 Springbrook Dr.
Lawton, MI 49065
$35 US; $45 Intl
Waco World News, 6/yr
National Waco Club
Andy Heins
50 La Belle St.
Dayton, OH 45403
$25/yr US; $30 Intl
Waco Pilot, 6/yr

Other Aviation Organizations

Aircraft Engine Historical Society

Intl Liaison Pilot & Aircraft Association (ILPA)

Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven

4608 Charles Dr. NW

Huntsville, AL 35816

Bill Stratton
16518 Ledgestone
San Antonio, TX 78232
210-490-4572 voice & fax
$29/yr; $35 Intl with Liaison Spoken Here

Kim Garlick or Rita Foley

P.O. Box J-3
Lock Haven, PA 17745-0496
$12/yr Individual, $17 Family, Publication: 2/yr

American Aviation
Historical Society
15211 Springdale Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
$39.95/yr US, Publication: Qtrly

Intl Wheelchair Aviators

Beechcraft Heritage Museum

Lake Amphibian Flyers Club

P.O. Box 550

570 Old Shelbyville Hwy
Tullahoma, TN 37388
$50/yr; $60 Intl USD

Cross & Cockade

Bob Sheldon, Secretary
14329 S. Calhoun Ave.
Burnham, IL 60633
$20/yr, Publication: 6/yr

Cross & Cockade International

Roger Tisdale
$55/yr surface mail; $66/yr airmail
Publication: Qtrly Journal

923 W. Sherwood Blvd.

Big Bear City, CA 92314
Marc Rodstein
15695 Boeing Court
Wellington, FL 33414
$62, $72 Intl with Lake Flyer newsletter

National Association of Priest Pilots

Rev. Mel Hemann
127 Kaspend Pl
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Kevin Willis, Membership Secretary

1903 B Aviation Drive
Corona, CA 92880

Reno Air Racing Association

North American Trainer Association

14501 Mt. Anderson St.

Reno, NV 89506

Florida Antique Biplane Association, Inc.

Larry Robinson
10906 Denoeu Road
Boynton Beach, FL 33472
$48/yr with The Flying Wire, Monthly

Florida Cub Flyers, Inc.

Larry Robinson
10906 Denoeu Road
Boynton Beach, FL 33472
$48/yr with ub Tales, Monthly

International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians

Lynn Miller, Secretary-Treasurer
P.O. Box 479
Seabrook, TX 77586
$40/yr US

30 JANUARY 2012

P.O. Box 1694

Oldsmar, FL 34677-1694
$25/yr with Slipstream, 6/yr

Society of Air Racing Historians

Herman Schaub
168 Marian Lane
Berea, OH 44017
$20/yr US; $23 Intl with Golden Pylons, 6/yr

United Flying Octogenarians

Bart Bratko, secy/treas.
19 Bay State Rd
Natick, MA 01760
$20yr with UFO newsletter, 4/yr

Vintage Sailplane Association

The Ninety-Nines, Inc.,
International Organization of Women Pilots
4300 Amelia Earhart Dr. Suite A
Oklahoma City, OK 73159
$65/yr, Publication: 4/yr

Deaf Pilots Association

Silver Wings Fraternity

(T6, T28, NA64, NA50, P51, B25)

Kathy & Stoney Stonich
25801 NE Hinness Rd.
Brush Prairie, WA 98606
$50 US/Canada; $60 Intl USD
NATA Skylines, Qtrly

31757 Honey Locust Road

Jonesburg, MO 63351-3195
$30/yr; $40 Intl
Bungee Cord, Qtrly

Waco Historical Society

Waco Aircraft Museum
Don Willis, Exec. Dir.
1865 South County Rd. 25A
Troy, OH 45373
M-F 9-noon; Sat-Sun noon-5
Jan & Feb closed except by appt.
WACO Word, 4/yr

Women in Aviation, International

OX5 Aviation Pioneers
Dues: $30/yr
OX5 News, Monthly

3647 State Route 503 South

West Alexandria, OH 45381
$39/yr; $29 students
Aviation for Women, 6/yr

Seaplane Pilots Association

3859 Laird Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33811
$45/yr US; $55/yr Intl with Water Flying, 6/yr

WWI Aeroplanes, Inc.

PO Box 730
Red Hook, NY 12571-0730
Skyways and WWI Aero

J U S T A R E M I N D E R ...
You can buy your tickets online now
and save time and money.
Go to
and get to the fun fasterand cheaper.


J U LY 23 2 9, 2012




Repair Data
All mechanics are accustomed to using current FAA
publication AC 43.13-1B to develop repair data for airframe structures. But did you ever wonder from where
that data came? It did not just appear out of the blue,
nor was it a revelation from the FAA. The data in the
advisory circular had its beginnings as an aeronautics
bulletin (AB) and was designated as AB-7H.
Before 1926, there was no regulation of aviation
because it was a fledgling entity. There were not many
airplanes and pilots, and the only commercial activity was barnstorming. The airplanes were mostly surplus Curtiss Jennys and Standard J-1 biplanes, which
were of wood construction. The pilots were mostly
World War I survivors, and they taught others how to
fly. In fact, a few pilots were self-taught. They learned
how to control an airplane by what we now call onthe-job training.
I once flew with Paul Hansen, a crop-dusting pilot from Seaside, Oregon, who had a couple of Travel
Air biplanes modified for dusting and spraying. Paul
sprayed cranberry bogs in the area, but ventured out
of the area to spray in the Yakima Valley of Washington and Eastern Oregon. He was a Navy pilot, having
flown Vought F4U Corsairs, including the F2G and
Grumman F8F Bearcats, and he transitioned into the
early jets such as the Grumman F9F Panther and F9F-6
Cougar. He was one of my flight instructors for a couple of hours and told the story of how he learned to fly.
He borrowed a Heath Parasol, and the owner said to
taxi back and forth in the pasture from fence to fence
until he could control the ship on the ground. The
next step was to hop the fence and land in the pasture
on the other side. Finally the owner told Paul to hop
the fence but not land on the other side. He was to try
to fly a rectangular pattern, keeping the nose down in
turns until he could land in the pasture where he took
off. He did, survived, and went on to a flying career!
Such were the days before the government seized control of civil aviation in 1926 and started putting forth regulations for airplanes, aviators, and eventually mechanics.
The first regulations for construction of new air-

32 JANUARY 2012

planes came with the initiation of Aeronautics Bulletin

7A, which set forth certain requirements for design
that would evolve into the approved type certificate
(ATC). The first ATC was issued in March 1927. With
the ATC in place new ships were designed and approvals to manufacture and sell these aircraft to the general
public began. There were a few companies that manufactured aircraft to replace the grounded Curtiss Jenny
and Standard J-1 ships, the most recognizable being
Waco, Travel Air, and Stearman. See Illustration 1.

Illustration 1

As the population of new aircraft and pilots grew,

there became a need to regulate those who repaired
damaged ships. In the early days of aviation, repairs
were made by providing very detailed drawings to the
Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce,
such as the one shown below. The drawing is a blueprint, the only means to reproduce drawings made on
vellum paper with a pencil (and sometimes an inking
pen), tee square, triangle, and scale.

Illustration 2
This repair is to a Challenger Command-Aire that
was extensively repaired August 1, 1935. The series
of blueprint drawings are each embossed with the
Department of Commerce, Bureau of Air Commerce
seal, which means the repairs were approved. A
pencil is placed on the drawing to indicate its size.
This drawing was prepared by the Aeronautical University of Chicago, Illinois, and details a tube splice
on a Command-Aire 5C3 horizontal stabilizer. See
Illustration 2.
By 1936 the Bureau of Air Commerce was really getting its act together as the aeronautics bulletins grew.
They were cataloged under Aeronautics Bulletin 7, beginning with 7A. Their subjects of regulation were:
7A Airworthiness Requirements

Illustration 3

7F Airworthiness Requirements for Aeronautical

Components and Accessories
7G Airworthiness Requirements for Engines and
7H Alteration and Repair of Aircraft
7J Special Requirements for Air Line Aircraft
The intent of this column is to acquaint the reader
with background information as to how alteration and
repair procedures were developed. For this we have to
go back to the days before the Civil
Aeronautics Administration came
into existence.
At the time, repair procedures
were developed by the Bureau of
Air Commerce, which was still part
of the U.S. Department of Commerce. See Illustration 3.
By 1936, 621 approved type certificates had been issued; therefore,
a large number of certificated
aircraft were flying around the
country. With many landing strips
being unimproved, there were
many damaged aircraft. As the paperwork burden grew, there was
a need to attempt to standardize
some common repairs that were
being made to airframes. To trace
this story we must go back to 1927
when a young German engineer came to the United
States to represent the Heinkel Aircraft Works with an
offer to manufacture certain Heinkel training aircraft
in the United States. Part of a larger group, this young
engineer was Albert Voelmecke (spelling later changed
to Vollmecke), and as he surveyed the civil aviation activities in the United States, he decided to stay and obtain a job with a manufacturing company. He settled
with Arkansas Aviation in Little Rock, Arkansas, and
became its chief engineer.
Mr. Vollmecke spent the next four years with Arkansas Aircraft, later renamed Command-Aire Incorporated, and designed several aircraft for the
company. When Command-Aire went bankrupt in
1931, the company eventually ceased to exist, and
he was out of work. Married with
two children, he sought any work
in aviation to keep food on the
table and pay the rent. He worked
for a company building a network of airway beacons. With the
expansion of the Bureau of Air
Commerce, in 1933 he took a job
with the government to put his
engineering skills to use. He was
assigned to head a group of engineers to develop repair standards
for civil aircraft.


Albert and Bob

as a drawing board with tee square, triangles, a scale,

his trusty slide rule, and several pencils with erasers.
There is much more to this story, but well save it for
another day.
Shift now to 1933, just after Al was hired by the
Bureau of Air Commerce and moved his family
to Washington, D.C. One of his fi rst assignments
was to hear a group that was to design repairs so
mechanics could interpret and fabricate them on
the large population of certificated civil aircraft
that now inhabited the country. He assembled a
small group of engineers, and they went to work.
What they produced was Aeronautics Bulletin 7-H,
which was the precursor to CAM-18 (Civil Aeronautics Manual 18) and the current AC 43.13-1B.
He told me that he had personally designed the
steel tube and wood splices, all considered major repairs to primary structure. He said his group
engineered the repairs and then took drawings to
craftsmen living in the Washington, D.C., area.
The steel tube and wood splices were fabricated
using his drawings and then were sent to a lab to
be tested to destruction. Below are a few drawings
from Aeronautics Bulletin 7-H and the current
AC 43.13-1B. Notice how closely they resemble
each other. Its an interesting story and probably
one that has been hidden over all these years, but
certainly worth the time to tell. AB-7H evolved
into Civil Aeronautics Manual 18, which in turn

In 1982 I met Albert Vollmecke when restoring my

1929 Command-Aire 5C3, which he had previously designed. He came to California to visit my shop and reunite with his airplane. He was 81 years young at that
time. During the next 13 years we corresponded, and I made trips to his home in
Silver Spring, Maryland, to visit with him
and his wife, Maja.
He was an encyclopedia of knowledge, particularly aircraft, having come
through the industry at the time of very
rapid expansion, particularly the issuance
of approved type certifi cates. Whenever
I visited, a voice-activated tape recorder
was in hand, so questions could be asked
and his answers closely monitored. There
was no time to make notes on a pad; I
just concentrated on what he had to say.
Even though he originally wanted to
talk about events of the day and his easy
chair was surrounded with such magazines as Newsweek, U.S. News and World
Report, and others, he agreed to shift back
to the earliest days of government control of aviation and his design of aircraft.
We talked about the approved type certificate process, which he said for his model
3C3 took only 10 working days (two
Illustration 4
weeks). He and his entourage traveled
to Washington, D.C., and took rooms at Aeronautics Bulletin 7-H, Inner Sleeve Tube Splice
the Roosevelt Hotel; his was a suite with AC 43.13-1B, Inner Sleeve Tube Splice.
a large dining room table, suitable to use

34 JANUARY 2012

Illustration 5
Aeronautics Bulletin 7-H, Wood Rib Splice
AC 43.13-1B, Wood Rib Splice

Illustration 6
Aeronautics Bulletin 7-H, Wood Wing Spar Splice
AC 43.13-1B, Wood Wing Spar Splice

evolved into Advisory Circular 43.13-1, -1A, and
-1B depending on when it was published.
In the illustrations (4, 5, & 6) note the similarities between the old Aeronautics Bulletin 7-H
and the current AC 43-13-1B, Change 1 dated
9-9-98. The original AB-7-H repair designs are
from Albert Vollmecke; the AC 43.13-1B repair
designs are slight modifications or expansions of
the original designs.
Albert A. Vollmecke went on to have a great career in the CAA and the FAA, retiring in 1968 as
chief of the Airframe and Equipment Branch. He
saw civil and military aviation grow tremendously
over his career. He was the governments connection with Howard Hughes and the HK-1 and met
Hughes on several occasions. His stories about this
will be good for another day. So this is the background on just a few of the repairs found in the
current AC 43.13-1B. Incidentally, Aeronautics
Bulletin 7-H can still be found and downloaded
from the FAA website.
Al passed away in 1994 at the age of 93 years.
It was an absolute pleasure to have known him
over a very brief 15 years. I was not able to spend
enough time with him. What a talented and
gifted man!


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BY Steve Krog, CFI

Do You Know What You Dont Know?

Flying is a lifelong learning experience!

everal days ago, late in the afternoon, two

young pilots stopped at my hangar. Introductions were made, and then both expressed interest in obtaining some tailwheel instruction
and earning tailwheel endorsements. I asked
each to tell me of their flight experience. One had
about 80 hours in a Cessna 172 and an Ercoupe, while
the other said he had about 120 hours in the 172 and a
Piper Arrow. He added that he knew
about everything there was to know
about flying a 172.
These enthusiastic young men
brought back memories of my early
flying days and my good friend Step.
You may recall that Ive written of my friend Step (Stephen
DeLay) and our flying adventures
together, especially our flight and
learning experience on the way to
California. Within several weeks of
obtaining our private pilot certificates and a round-trip flight to Southern California,
we both wanted to get checked out in every different
available airplane based at the airport. After all, we
were new young hotshot pilots and had a piece of
paper in our pockets to prove it! But with so little flight
time accumulated, We didnt know what we didnt
know! All of our flight training was done in Piper
Cherokee PA-28s, -140s, and -180s.
Naturally, we both wanted to fly a high-wing airplane. Al Nelson, Nelson Flying Service, was our first
stop. Al, an old barnstormer from the 1930s and, at
that point in time, a recently retired crop duster, had a
Cessna 172 for rent. It didnt take long for either Step
or me to add that airplane to our respective logbooks.
With the checkout came the opportunity to fly for
the local college sky-diving club. Several days later I was
called and asked to fly for the club. The old 172 served
as the jump plane; the right door was removed, as well
as all seats except the pilot seat. After a quick preflight
inspection, I jumped into the left seat and three good-

sized guys with full parachute packs piled in on the bare

floor in the back. The jumpmaster sat on the floor next
to me. Before I could start the engine, though, Al appeared out of nowhere and tactfully asked me to join
him in the office. It was there that I learned a valuable
lesson, explained in some rather salty language.
Al made it very clear that I must first calculate a
weight and balance before flight. No big deal, I thought.
After all, the sky-diving club had
done this in the past. Sure there
was an extra body on board, but
all the seats had been removed, as
well as the door. That should about
equal out, shouldnt it? After doing
the calculations, I realized a serious
error was about to be made. Over
gross weight with a far aft CG, I
could easily have harmed us all!
In my haste to fly, I didnt know
what I didnt know. But I learned
a valuable lesson that day, and old
Al probably saved my life!
The FBO where Step and I learned to fly also had a
Piper Super Cub PA-18-150 used for primary training
in the Aerial Applicator curriculum. We both wanted
to get checked out in the Super Cub, and after much
cajoling, the FBO finally relented. Some flight hours
and days later, both Step and I were signed off to rent
the Super Cub. Several weeks later we rented the Super
Cub for one hour, each getting 30 minutes of flight
time. After making two full-stall landings, I tried a
wheel landing.
It was beautiful, probably the best wheel landing Id
ever made. Then I turned my head to make sure Step
recognized my perfect landing. In doing so, the Super
Cub decided to teach me a lesson. Instantly I was doing S-turns before exiting the runway. Before coming
to a complete stop, the nearly new aluminum prop
had become a Q-tip prop.
After moving the Super Cub to the shop, the FBO
took me into his office and gave me a few minutes to

Al, an old barnstormer from the

1930s and, at that
point in time,
a recently retired
crop duster, had a
Cessna 172 for rent.

36 JANUARY 2012

collect myself. I was certain I was about to get the best

butt chewing Id ever had and would be banned from
ever renting airplanes from him. In a calm voice he
asked what happened, and I explained my stupidity.
Continuing in his calm demeanor, he explained that
when landing a tailwheel airplane, never, ever take
your eyes off the edge of the runway until the airplane
comes to a stop. I didnt know what I didnt know! But
I learned a very valuable lesson.
After the discussion, he then took me back to the
shop, provided me with the proper tools, and told me
to remove the bent prop. Step helped, and we had it
off in minutes. Then the FBO provided us with another
prop and told us to install it, which we did. I sheepishly went into the FBO office and told him the prop
was on, and the airplane was ready for a test flight. He
responded, You broke it, you fixed it, you go test fly
it. With Step as my passenger, I proceeded to make
three uneventful landings. How they could be so good
I dont know, because every muscle in my body was
shaking during the entire test flight.
In hindsight, the experienced FBO knew exactly what
he was doing. It reminds me of this old adage: When
you get thrown from a horse, the best thing to do is get
right back on the horse and ride! I was back in the air
within an hour of damaging the prop. Lesson learned.
Ive taken what these two FBO/pilots taught me and
put it into practice in my own flight school. For example, I recently sent a student pilot out for his first
full hour of solo flight without first riding around the
patch with him. He was instructed to do three takeoffs and landings, then leave the pattern practicing
air work, and then re-enter the pattern for three more
takeoffs and landings. While the student was away
from the airport, a wind direction change occurred.
The student re-entered the traffic pattern for a landing on turf Runway 36, the crosswind unnoticed by
him. On touchdown the left wing rose and the onset of
a spectacular ground loop was underway. Fortunately,
the student recognized the situation, added full power,
and lifted off. The second attempt at landing was more
the norm, and he taxied back to the hangar. I met him
at the airplane and asked if he knew what he had done.
In a shaky voice he responded that the wind must have
changed. After giving him a moment or two to regain
his composure, I called for mags hot and prepared to
spin the prop on the Cub.
The student asked what I was doing, and I replied
that I was starting the engine so he could complete his
flight with three good landings. But this time look at
the windsock on final, confirming the wind direction;
then set up for and make a crosswind landing. The
three landings were quite good. The student has continued with his flight training and learned two valuable lessons that day. First, he got back in the airplane
and calmed his fears. Second, he learned to always look
at the windsock. He didnt know what he didnt know.

But he does now!

Step and I had many fun, and sometimes challenging, flying adventures together during our last year of
school. One of the more frivolous flights involved a
short flight to an airport about 20 miles away. To make
it interesting, we planned to see how many continuous
loops we could make in that distance. Beginning over
the top of our departure airport and at a safe altitude,
we pointed the nose southwest and began doing loops.
At 26 loops we both decided this wasnt such a good
idea, as we had only covered about two miles horizontally. We didnt know what we didnt know, but we
were learning something new every day.
Had it not been for Step, I may not have chosen to
advance my flying career. Alone I wouldnt have made
some of the flights, but together we supported one
another and did a lot of flying to expand our flight
experience. Those experiences made an indelible impression and made me want to share the thrill of flight
with others.
Flying airplanes is a constant learning process. It is
vitally important that pilots, young and old, experienced and inexperienced, remember this.
The young pilots mentioned earlier have both made
appointments to begin tailwheel training. I hope I can
share some of my knowledge and teach them a few
things they dont know! Learning together will make
us all better, safer pilots.

Scan this QR code with your smartphone
or tablet device to view our complete line



This months Mystery Plane comes to us from
the Kinzinger collection of the EAA Library.
Send your answer to EAA,

Vintage Airplane, P.O. Box 3086,

Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Your

answer needs to be in no
later than February 20 for
inclusion in the April 2012
issue of Vintage Airplane.
You can also send your response via e-mail. Send your
answer to mysteryplane@eaa.
org. Be sure to include your
name plus your city and state
in the body of your note
and put (Month) Mystery
Plane in the subject line.


Dan Schumaker shared the photo
that was our subject for the October
Mystery Plane, which admittedly was
a long shot. We received two answers,
one from Wayne Muxlow of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and this one, from
Wes Smith of Springfield, Illinois.
The October 2011 Mystery Plane is
the 1913 Martin-Gage (more correctly:
Gage-Martin) tractor biplane, constructed by the Gage-McClay Co. The
photo was taken at Fairbanks, Alaska,
on 4 July 1913. In the picture are Mrs.
Lily Martin, and her husband, James
Vernon Martin, the first man to fly in
Alaska. The aircraft was similar to the
1912-13 Fowler-Gage (Gage-Fowler)
tractor and two other machines. One,
built for J. Clifford Turpin, and another
for Roy N. Francis. Robert G. Fowler
used his machine to make the first
flight across the Isthmus of Panama.
The Fowler machine is preserved at the
National Air and Space Museum with
a Curtiss OX-5 in place of the original
Hall-Scott A-3. The aircraft was the design of Jay Gage, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California.

38 JANUARY 2012

1913 Gage-Martin tractor biplane.

We enjoy your suggestions for Mystery Planein fact, more

than half of our subjects are sent to us by members, often via email. Please remember that if you want to scan the photo for use
in Mystery Plane, it must be at a resolution of 300 dpi or greater.
You may send a lower-resolution version to us for our review,
but the nal version has to be at that level of detail or it will not
print properly. Also, please let us know where the photo came
from; we dont want to willfully violate someones copyright.


S o m e t h i n g t o b u y,
sell, or trade?
Classified Word Ads: $5.50 per 10 words,
180 words maximum, with boldface lead-in
on first line.
Classified Display Ads: One column wide
(2.167 inches) by 1, 2, or 3 inches high at
$20 per inch. Black and white only, and no
frequency discounts.
Advertising Closing Dates: 10th of second
month prior to desired issue date (i.e.,
January 10 is the closing date for the March
issue). VAA reser ves the right to reject any
advertising in conflict with its policies. Rates
cover one insertion per issue. Classified ads
are not accepted via phone. Payment must
accompany order. Word ads may be sent via
fax (920-426-4828) or e-mail (classads@ using credit card payment (all cards
accepted). Include name on card, complete
address, type of card, card number, and
expiration date. Make checks payable to EAA.
Address adver tising correspondence to EAA
Publications Classified Ad Manager, P.O. Box
3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086.

Iowa Takes to the Air Volumes I, II, III

MISCELLANEOUS, Aviations Leading

VAA Headband
VAA Blue Hat
Polar eece blue beanie is a
quick pull-on for light weight
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Black 2 ply headband has a

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VAA Neck Gaiter

Fleece lined with VAA design,
this attractive brown gaiter is
perfect for all outings.
(One size ts most.)


Green Lake, WI! 100 feet of Lake Frontage for
sale on beautiful Green Lake. Great fishing
and swimming. 30 miles from EAA grounds.
Call Dan 608 212 9556
Florida keys Tavernaero Airpark 2/2 up and
1/1 down. CBS Construction, Central Air,
screened pool, marina, air pad. $750,000
owner/agent 305-304-8393
Ill trade my completely refurbished building w/
aircraft same value $225K www.kenosha.

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Annual Inspections, Airframe recovering,
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Wayne A. Forshey A&P & I.A. 740-4721481 Ohio and bordering states.
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Telephone Orders: 800-843-3612
From US and Canada (All Others Call 920-426-5912)
*Shipping and handling NOT included.
Major credit cards accepted. WI residents add 5% sales tax.


Geoff Robison
1521 E. MacGregor Dr.
New Haven, IN 46774

George Daubner
N57W34837 Pondview Ln
Oconomowoc, WI 53066

Steve Nesse
2009 Highland Ave.
Albert Lea, MN 56007

Dan Knutson
106 Tena Marie Circle
Lodi, WI 53555


Steve Bender
85 Brush Hill Road
Sherborn, MA 01770

Dale A. Gustafson
7724 Shady Hills Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46278

David Bennett
375 Killdeer Ct
Lincoln, CA 95648

Jeannie Hill
P.O. Box 328
Harvard, IL 60033-0328

Jerry Brown
4605 Hickory Wood Row
Greenwood, IN 46143

Espie Butch Joyce

704 N. Regional Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27409
Steve Krog
1002 Heather Ln.
Hartford, WI 53027

Dave Clark
635 Vestal Lane
Plainfield, IN 46168
John S. Copeland
1A Deacon Street
Northborough, MA 01532
Phil Coulson
28415 Springbrook Dr.
Lawton, MI 49065

Robert D. Bob Lumley

1265 South 124th St.
Brookfield, WI 53005
S.H. Wes Schmid
2359 Lefeber Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Robert C. Brauer
9345 S. Hoyne
Chicago, IL 60643

Charlie Harris
PO Box 470350
Tulsa, OK 74147

Gene Chase
2159 Carlton Rd.
Oshkosh, WI 54904

E.E. Buck Hilbert

8102 Leech Rd.
Union, IL 60180

Ronald C. Fritz
15401 Sparta Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330

Gene Morris
5936 Steve Court
Roanoke, TX 76262

John Turgyan
PO Box 219
New Egypt, NJ 08533


Membership Services Directory

Enjoy the many benefits of EAA and
EAAs Vintage Aircraft Association


EAA Aviation Center, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh WI 54903-3086

Phone (920) 426-4800

Fax (920) 426-4873

Web Sites:,, E-Mail:

EAA and Division Membership Services (8:00 AM6:00 PM

MondayFriday CST)
FAX 920-426-4873
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VAA Office

EAA Members Information Line

888-EAA-INFO (322-4636)
Use this toll-free number for: information about AirVenture Oshkosh; aeromedical and technical aviation questions;
chapters; and Young Eagles. Please have your membership number ready when calling.
Office hours are 8:15 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Monday - Friday, CST)

Membership in the Experimental Aircraft
Association, Inc. is $40 for one year, including 12 issues of SPORT AVIATION. Family
membership is an additional $10 annually. All
major credit cards accepted for membership.
(Add $16 for International Postage.)

Please submit your remittance with a
check or draft drawn on a United States
bank payable in United States dollars. Add
required Foreign Postage amount for each


Current EAA members may join the
Vintage Aircraft Association and receive
VINTAGE AIRPLANE magazine for an
additional $36 per year.
magazine and one year membership in the EAA
Vintage Aircraft Association is available for $46 per

year (SPORT AVIATION magazine not included).

(Add $7 for International Postage.)

Current EAA members may join the EAA
Warbirds of America Division and receive
WARBIRDS magazine for an additional
$45 per year.
EAA Membership, WARBIRDS magazine and one year membership in the
Warbirds Division is available for $55 per
year (SPOR AVIATION magazine not
included). (Add $7 for International


Current EAA members may join the

International Aerobatic Club, Inc. Division and receive SPORT AEROBATICS
magazine for an additional $45 per year.
EAA Membership, SPORT AEROBATICS magazine and one year membership
in the IAC Division is available for $55 per
year (SPORT AVIATION magazine not included). (Add $15 for Foreign Postage.)

Membership dues to EAA and its divisions are not tax deductible as charitable contributions

Copyright 2012 by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association, All rights reserved.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE (USPS 062-750; ISSN 0091-6943) is published and owned exclusively by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association of the Experimental Aircraft Association and is published monthly at EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Rd., PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 549023-3086, e-mail: Membership to Vintage Aircraft Association, which includes 12 issues of Vintage Airplane magazine,
is $36 per year for EAA members and $46 for non-EAA members. Periodicals Postage paid at Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Vintage Airplane,
PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. CPC #40612608. FOREIGN AND APO ADDRESSESPlease allow at least two months for delivery of VINTAGE AIRPLANE to foreign and APO addresses via surface mail.
ADVERTISING Vintage Aircraft Association does not guarantee or endorse any product offered through the advertising. We invite constructive criticism and welcome any report of inferior merchandise obtained
through our advertising so that corrective measures can be taken.
EDITORIAL POLICY: Members are encouraged to submit stories and photographs. Policy opinions expressed in articles are solely those of the authors. Responsibility for accuracy in reporting rests entirely with
the contributor. No remuneration is made. Material should be sent to: Editor, VINTAGE AIRPLANE, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Phone 920-426-4800.
EAA and EAA SPORT AVIATION, the EAA Logo and Aeronautica are registered trademarks, trademarks, and service marks of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. The use of these trademarks and
service marks without the permission of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

40 JANUARY 2012